By Susan Petit
This learn of the fictitious topics and strategies of Michel Tournier finds his profound radicalism as a social critic and novelist regardless of the seeming conventionality of his works. Guided via Tournier's essays and interviews, Petit examines his fiction in mild of plot assets, philosophical and anthropological education, and his trust that fiction should still swap the realm. shut research of Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique, Le Roi des aulnes, Les Météores, Gaspard, Melchior et Balthazar, and l. a. Goutte d'or, in addition to the quick fiction in Le Coq de bruyère and Le Médianoche amoureux, indicates Tournier's innovative perception of plot structuring as he develops key subject matters, even if faith, sensuality, or prejudice, in additional than two decades spent reconceiving the character of fiction.
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Additional info for Michel Tournier's Metaphysical Fictions
He has said that one of his reasons for writing this novel was to say Le Roi des aulnes 27 something about Germany (Rambures 165), and part of that message is that, as he says, the French have "every fault that they attribute to the Germans" (Braudeau 89). Tournier drew also on his experiences at boarding schools (Koster, Michel Tournier 153), including the "despotic slavery" he was subjected to by an older boy he had a crush on when he was about seven (Vent 24). The novel also reflects another childhood experience, the excitement the teenaged Tournier felt when his restrictive home and school environments were turned topsyturvy by World War II and the Occupation; he had prayed that war would rescue him from his problems at school, and it did (Vent 76).
One feels that the physical background— descriptions of plants, of weather, of the island's topography—are of secondary interest to Tournier, although he has clearly taken pains to get them right and to include adequate amounts of sensory descriptions. He has said that his models are such writers as Zola, Colette, and Jules Renard who, in his view, "make you smell things and people" (Ezine, "Michel Tournier" 225). But one smells the odor of the study in Vendredi, not that of the island; Tournier's research mainly involved reading about primitive societies, and his first-hand study, according to an interview, was limited to inspecting the only mandrake in Paris's Jardin des Plantes (Braudeau 85).
So from the classically simple lines of the legend of Saint Christopher, Tournier has constructed a baroque edifice, the fugue being a prime example of late baroque. 38 Michel Tournier's Metaphysical Fictions THE PROBLEM OF NAZISM Unlike the fugal patterns, the historical material which serves as another source has upset many readers. Some, including Saul Friedländer, are disturbed by Le Roi des aulnes because it presents the seductions of Nazism, and they think the book implicitly endorses Nazi ideology.