Thierry Beinstingel, Ils désertent (Fayard, 2012) [please buy the Livre de poche edition]
- Describe the two main characters, ‘l’ancêtre’ and ‘la jeune sportive’. How apt are these nicknames? (Identify key moments in the text and prominent characteristics.)
- Analyse and discuss the novel's unusual narrative form: the two narrative voices, narrators and narratees. Describe and analyse the use of this technique as the novel develops: what effect(s) does it have? When in the text (on first reading) can we identify the two narrators and narratees?
- Discuss the novel's portrayal of social class (in particular through the mother’s ambivalence to her daughter’s educational and professional career).
- Identify and discuss all of the many and various meanings and resonances of the novel’s title.
- Discuss the novel’s depiction of the changing landscape of France, focusing in particular on the periurban landscape.
- Student presentation: In what ways is the economic crisis legible in this novel?
- What does the novel suggest about the effects of work on family life in contemporary France?
- Describe and discuss the novel’s portrayal of contemporary French workplace and management practice.
- Research the life and work of nineteenth-century poet and arms dealer Arthur Rimbaud. What use is made of him in the novel?
- How does the book present the sales patter of ‘l’ancêtre’ and what do you make of this presentation?
- Passage for commentary: ‘Vivre seule donc…’ (p.60) => ‘cette histoire qui t’a refroidie, aussi.’ (p.61)
- Beinstingel, Thierry, ‘Langages et littératures du travail chez les écrivains français depuis mai 1968’, Intercâmbio 2a, 5 (2012): 50–60. See here.
- Labadie, Aurore, ‘Le roman d’entreprise français au tournant du XXIe siècle’, Les Cahiers de Ceracc 7 (2014). See here.
- Michel, Chantal, 'Travail et contrainte dans l’œuvre de Thierry Beinstingel', Intercâmbio 2a, 5 (2012): 136-154. See here.
- Viart, Dominique, ‘Écrire le travail : vers une sociologisation du roman contemporain ?’, Raison-publique.fr (5 January 2016).
- Waters, Sarah, ‘The 2008 Economic Crisis and the French Narrative of National Decline: Une causalité diabolique’, Modern & Contemporary France 21, 3 (2013). Available via the Library here.