Fio Régale is 22 years old and an orphan. She manages to get by, to pay the rent and find the money for her legal tuition fees thanks to an ingenious scam. She lives in Paris, in a Belleville apartment block that belongs to her only neighbour, also a friend – the former model Zora Marprelate. This lady is an expert in the art of misanthropy, and is armed and extremely dangerous. One day, without any warning, a brilliant young artist and critic bursts into her apartment and drags her out into the spotlight of the art world. It turns out that her little paintings are seen as works of considerable talent. In a golden world that is all new to her, she steers her way around the different cliques and factions, basking in a glory that is as widespread as it is unjustified – for her work has never been exhibited. This is fuelled by the enthusiasm of a man who has been a legendary mover in the art world in recent decades, the recently deceased Ambrose Abercrombie. Fio is – or was – his last ‘discovery’. All eyes are turned on the girl as, powerless, she watches a conspiracy against her own fame unrolling before her. This is an ironic and satirical tragedy that is hugely imaginative. What Martin Page is describing is success: how to come to terms with it and come through the other side?
This hugely imaginative, ironic and satirical tragedy explores public success and fake values and how to cope with celebrity.
Publishing house : Le Dilettante, 2003.
Translation rights : Germany (Wagenbach), Spain (Tusquets), Italy (Garzanti), Romania (Humanitas), Russia (Fluide), Thailand (Circle Publishing), Serbia (Alfa-Narodina), China (Taiwan, Bobos), Brazil (Rocco), Ukraine (Acadam-Press), Finland (Like Kustannus) and in Catalan (La Campana).
Paperback rights : J’ai Lu.
‘How long is it since there has been anyone else as sensitive, as moving and as funny as you? The answer, obviously, must be “it was before you came along”! What might seem like simple text also exhibits flashes of inspired writing of a kind you rarely see. It’s an anthology of our times, touching on TV, on celebrity and on being switched on. A story about enslavement, it asks how it can be that everything that worms its way into your feelings can overwhelm you, and why do we submit to the tyranny of things that aren’t delicate, or essential, or, in short, to anything that isn’t real passion? The answer – a fleeting one – is dragonfly-shaped.’ Y.M., Elle
‘Enlivened with flashes of stylistic brilliance, this tale of a conspiracy of destruction balances the gravity of its storyline with some deliciously nimble writing.’ P.P., La Vie
‘In the opinion of this “Martinpageophile”, there’s a substantial body of work in the making.’ P.F., Rolling Stone
‘Martin Page wields a rapier-like pen, slicing through the truth by its very threads. His literary swordplay is a series of deft and unexpected hits.’ P.P., Le Matricule des anges
‘The black humour in Page’s work runs through his vitriolic review of society life, and the book’s gentle melancholy is surprising.’ P.R., Jalouse
‘You are won over by the charm of the book, which demonstrates brilliantly the idea that a novel is a dream lifted from the subconscious and brought to life in the real world. It is a sensitive and moving satire of our times, from a writer with an economy of style and a masterful use of irony.’ S.J., Journal du Salon du livre
Martin Page saves French literature from the interchangeable.
What has been going wrong with French literature lately? Caught between Michel Houellebecq’s post-existentialist nihilism, Catherine Millet’s trite erotism and Frédéric Beigbeider’s affected moralism, readers could only choose between apocalypse and suicide. A succession of books were thrown at them both spectacularly and unsuccessfully and it all came down to the same thing.
Everything was indifferent for Martin Page as well. And also the exact opposite as the first eight books he had written after passing his A levels had all been turned down. “Through all those years I have become quite good at seeing my manuscripts rejected”, he now claims. At that time he worked as a teacher in a boarding school and dedicated himself to his very ordinary hobbies: “going to the cinema, swimming, listening to music”. He wrote at night and during vacation. Until one day in October 2000 when the phone rang. It was the young and ambitious publisher Le Dilettante whose logo shows a cat asleep on an open book.
The mixture of society criticism, poetic ingeniousness and both striking and relevant writing reminds one of L’Écume des jours and we can only be grateful for such apparitions: in those pages, written with such love, filled with humour and sweet hope there is a hint of a new literary, aesthetic and poetic inspiration – at last.’ N. M., Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung
The ultimate Author’s Edition of the novel in french is the digital version (ebook, september 2013).