Louis Joseph found his family with the book “Le fils de Marie” by one of his descendants, Jean-François Jondeau

Marie Fourier, what a lovely character. She was the mother of six children from six different fathers and died aged 38 in 1884. Her husband dressed her in her beautiful, never worn dress, which she had bought at the Luzy fair before leaving for her final home .

Marie, she is the great-great-grandmother of Jean-François Jondeau, the author of son of Mary, born in Saône-et-Loire, and lives in Nièvre. Through the prism of this grandmother, he can thus give real life to his great-grandfather, Louis Joseph, Marie’s fifth son, whom everyone in his family considered a child of assistance.

About thirty years ago when he drew up the family tree on his father’s side (it is published at the end of the book), he then knows that it is useless to look for elements for this Louis Joseph. But one of his friends, doing further research, finds the existence of this ancestor who was not an abandoned child.

So Jean-François Jondeau, who had never written a novel, decided to chronicle the life of her ancestors in a book for the whole family. When Marie’s husband’s profession is changed (he was a boatman and not a clog maker) and when the great-grandfather’s design is invented, everything is authentic. And this thanks to the oral testimony of his grandfather Jean Marcel, heard by everyone on his 90th birthday.

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Smooth writing

To bring this true story to life, Jean-François Jondeau alternates the two fates, that of Marie, a day laborer whose life has not spared, and that of Louis Joseph. He runs the two parallel “to keep a little tension in their paths”.

My father told me all about the war when I was 13 or 14 and he even took me to the places he spoke of.

With a fluid writing style, it immerses the reader in the story of these women and men, all of whom lived in a rural area between Autun and Le Creusot. Between joy and sadness, between drama and happiness, these ancestors represent this France from the mid-19th century to the 1960s.

They live on farms. Toil all day. Don’t complain. The children help with the work in the fields before they go to school. And when the guns run out, they don’t go to class. As for the girls who were able to study, no question. It is better if they are well educated in the household. And you might find a good match.

broken lives

Jean-François Jondeau describes this everyday life for so many of our ancestors. Against the background of war, military service, fair meetings, tutelage by the Schneider factory in World War II, loss of children, German boot noise and machine gun trains. “My father told me all about the war when I was 13 or 14 and he even took me to see the places he was talking about. »

With Maria’s son, the author is aware of paying homage to his ancestors. Bringing these sometimes broken lives together to form a line. In memory of everyone.

Sylvie Anibal

Mission. Jean-François Jondeau will be signing his book Le fils de Marie (Les éditions Baudelaire), 140 pages, €14, at the Le Cyprès bookshop in Nevers on Saturday 16 April from 10am to 1pm.

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