“I think almost all of my books would make great movies”

In where the happy people lived, published in 2021, you evoke in a beautifully tragic and romantic way the domestic life of a woman, very inspired by your own life. How important was that?

Very important. One of my goals is to paint a realistic portrait of women’s experience, including things that are not generally considered, such as the harshness of domestic life. Me, I always worked, but I also did the housework, the cooking, I looked after the children – like many women. The lie we are told about motherhood is destructive, I think of the very hard stories of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, artists who have had great difficulty with their role as mothers (these American authors and poetesses committed suicide, respectively in 1963 and 1974, note). Many readers were upset by Where the happy people lived: why does the heroine give up the family home to her unfaithful husband, why does she sacrifice herself? I understand their reaction, but it’s not my job to portray women as we would like them to be. That said, these readers made me realize that it’s important to give the heroine another time, for herself – like me today, who, for the first time, at 69, can live for myself. That’s why I decided to write the rest of the story – it’s this book that I finished writing here, in Paris.

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