Professional travel, a room at the Navy Hotel, conducive to reading. I choose a book. Impasse Verlaine, the title appeals to me. In addition, at Grasset. I like this edition, this recognizable yellow. I am preparing a peaceful evening, unsurprisingly, I do not like surprises.

The shock was tough. The total surprise. I am screened in the Algeria of the 50s, in a Berber village, where life is very hard, especially for girls. I already know that this book will not leave me indifferent. From the first chapter, the tone is given. "You can survive everything when you survive your mother."

Dalie Farah recounts her childhood. The main character of the book is her mother, named Friday, arrived in the early 70s in Clermont-Ferrand, after a forced marriage with a man who is twenty years older than she came to the country to look for a wife. She is 15, she can not read, but can count, add and subtract better than anyone. His father, a shepherd, taught him that. This father whom she adored, murdered before her eyes, tortured by French soldiers. That sweet father who knew how to protect her from the fury of her mother who could whip her blood.

Friday was an abused child, and in turn will abuse her daughter. "From the third year of my life, past the break-in period, I've had the crease of internal tears: often beaten, I do not complain." Dalie Farah does not try her mother, she loves him, as we love her executioner. And all told with a lot of humor, a keen sense of direction.

In spite of everything, we focus on Friday, this very proud woman who never loses face, takes the household in hands when her husband falls from a scaffolding, emancipates while working, gets the license without knowing how to read. And sometimes, Friday defends the interests of his daughter, in his own way. Dalie Farah, in kindergarten, receives a slap from her mistress for having scratched a little cheater. The scene is hilariously told. Friday mad with rage goes to school to demand justice and slaps in turn the teacher. And the author concludes: "Friday has values, principles. We do not hit the children of others. "

To overcome the abuse suffered daily, Dalie Farah takes refuge in reading. And there is a place where she forgets that she is the daughter of Friday is school. She feels safe there. The Republican school saved Dalie Farah. She participates one day in a writing contest, she wins the first prize, we would like her to talk to her mother, to make her love her.

She has her baccalaureate and her mother is proud of it. She runs away from home to go to university. A sequel is needed. We would like to know how she got away from it, what happened Friday.


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Dalie Farah Impasse Verlaine Grasset, 217 pp., 18 €.

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