GABRIELLE OR THE REDISCOVERED GARDEN
(Denoël, 218 pages, 2017)
*** Sold to Droemer in Germany ***
When a secret garden holds the key to healing a broken heart.
In the suburbs of Paris, Martin loses the woman he loves, Gabrielle, in a traffic accident. Inconsolable, he sinks deeper and deeper into the denial of her brutal disappearance. Gabrielle had two passions: reading and gardening. Martin, who had barely opened a book in his life, begins to read the passages she had underlined in her books and to care for the garden she had shaped. In the process, he discovers the secret that, out of love, Gabrielle had kept hidden from him. A secret that will lead him to some extraordinary characters and forever change his life, while helping him to overcome Gabrielle’s death in the most unexpected ways.
Transformed by the dual powers of nature and literature blossoming within him, Martin begins writing poetry, and reconnecting with his body and his senses. The process, however, soon turns into an obsession A Robinson Crusoe-like recluse in this garden, an earthly paradise that protects him from the harshness of reality and the outside world, Martin may not survive the friction with society knocking ever louder on his door. But the garden is indestructible…
A dramatic narrative, this tender and sometimes absurdly comical variation on the themes of undying love and crippling grief will keep the reader turning pages with every brisk chapter. An ode to the power of literature and a moving reminder of the resilience of life in all its shapes.
Stéphane Jougla, born in Toulouse in 1964, is the author of three other novels: L’idée (Gallimard, 2003, winner of the Prix Méditerranée des lycéens), Portrait d’une absente (Gallimard, 2005, translated into Polish and Korean), and La petite philosophe (Éditions du Seuil, 2009). He also writes for the social sciences journal Sigila and is the author of the Fleurs d’encre school textbook collection, published by Hachette. Jougla studied law and literature, and currently teaches modern literature at a middle school in the suburbs of Paris.