What Brigitte Giraud's novel 'Vivre Vite' (Live Fast) teaches us about grief and loss
Brigitte Giraud's book, which won France's most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt 2022, opens with French author Patrick Autréaux's words, "To write is to be led to the place one would like to avoid".
Autréaux's words sum up Brigitte Giraud's feelings about the most painful experience of her life: the death of her husband in 1999.
After winning the award, she told reporters: “The intimate only makes sense if it resonates with the collective, with a society, with a period, with a story. I imagine that they have seen this dimension, which is much larger than a simple intimate life and a simple fate.”
Previous winners of the Prix Goncourt include Simone de Beauvoir, Marcel Proust and Marguerite Duras.
Brigitte Giraud was born in Algeria and her mother was also a writer. She embarked on her literary journey in the 1990s. The book focuses on her life following her husband’s tragic motorbike accident. Reflecting on fate, she questions whether there is such a thing as chance or if it is actually "maktoub", meaning 'destiny' in Arabic, that determines the course of our lives.
Through self-analysis, the author explores themes like responsibility and guilt and questions how everything in our lives may be connected. After having kept silent on this subject for at least 10 years, the novelist seeks to understand what causes life to be bearable or unbearable, and how one can keep on living after such a loss.
The title of the book, 'Live Fast' , was taken from Lou Reed's lyrics, 'Live fast and Die Young.'
Brigitte Giraud courageously forces us to question our daily lives. Are we all living stressful lives, always rushing around? Are we fully enjoying our lives and paying attention to what is happening around us and especially to our loved ones?
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