Published : 22 March 2016
N° ISBN : 978-2-36956-034-0
Les Bonnes Mœurs
Tristan is a young and ambitious investment banker who can juggle with spreadsheets and financing operations. Abandoned by a woman, his newfound loneliness makes him realize with glaring clarity the pointlessness of his life in the office.
When he is sent to a small provincial printing company to save it from bankruptcy, he moves in at the château du Valbrun, at his grandfather’s, with whom he’d been completely out of touch since he was a child.
Far from the temptations of Paris, deep in remote Sologne in central France, a new and complex relationship grows between the old mood-swing-ridden aristocrat and the young and bitter banker.
But a merciless struggle is about to start in the woods of Valbrun. Personal revenge and local elections are the backdrop to an ambitious local politician trying to appropriate the woods from the grandfather so as to build a junior high school for troubled youth.
Environmental and political strife serves to oppose two visions of mankind and animals. Tristan is reluctantly embroiled into this fight between rural conservatives and technocratic leftists from Paris. He finds an unexpected ally—a wild English neighbour who lives the life of a hedonist, with a passion for horses, crazy inventions and dubious literary theories. The two friends will have to be all the more creative when the discovery of a rare and almost extinct species of beetle challenges the status quo and the opposing forces.
In the loneliness of the forest, the exact opposite of his wild life in Paris or Saint-Tropez, Tristan’s façade cynicism gradually yields. Delving into the world of traditions, of hound-hunting and meditation, he realizes that carnal desires are not as absent as he may have thought.
Tristan’s fall, his rejection of modernity, yielding to the lyrical call of the woods seems inevitable. But beyond the attraction of the forest, will he be able to understand the deeper invite to find his place in the world?
An outlook on the novel
What with wild episodes worthy of Bret Easton Ellis or Tom Wolfe and the lyrical forest musings à la Maurice Genevoix, Timothée Gaget has found an unusual angle to revisit the classic oppositions between city and country, modern and conservative. Ironically depicting the world of finance or the fall of the last Catholic aristocrats of rural France, the author can describe a Parisian orgy as well as country hunt, making family and love affairs meet with contemporary issues in a dazzling clash of perspective. He also questions the old nature/nurture dichotomy. A hymn to the forest that is also a sensitive and poetic vision of the world.