the zest for life of the children of the Cold War

End of September 1991. The Berlin Wall is gone, the free world can triumph. “Here we are now, talk”Serine and then Nirvana which just released doesn’t matter, a memorable clutch that shoes a baby with a biffon. Skimming the possibilities of debate, adventure, and life, the present seems little more than a giant supermarket. In the heat of the end of summer, Sébastien, 18, meets Frédéric on the benches of the law school in Toulouse.

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Frédéric is haughty, lively, provocative. He is against time, entertainment and stupidity. He plans to live his life in style and not without violence. For Sébastien, a melancholy bourgeois embedded in royalist ideals, the fascination is immediate. Together they will drown in an intellectual ferment, engulfing Ernst Jiinger, Bernanos, Boutang and Steiner.

Born too early or too late, they are the representatives of a youth sacrificed between hippies and yuppies. Marc-Edouard Nabe outraged the educated ground floor of antenna 2; Drieu is rare; the pink city sip of the descendants of Spanish republicans. Never mind, joining the left would be just another conformism.

Juvenile lukewarmness

The boys’ attraction to the war that is bleeding and splintering the former Yugoslavia goes hand in hand with their encounter with the beautiful Sophie, a 25-year-old lecturer. You will seduce her together. The love trio is simple and perfect, the bracket enchants. After all, life is like literature, it carries its enthusiasm and intensity over its shoulder. The “beautiful days” are those of unashamedly green, aesthetic and magnificent.

It’s the return of Jules and Jim by Henri-Pierre Roché: We just know it’s going to end badly… Frédéric is a star that is as sunny as it is dark. A senseless meteor that rips apart the youthful lukewarmness of Sébastien’s ideals, he proves to be as loving as he is affectionate: enchanted by the course of history that begins anew in the Balkans, by the stroke of fate that has led to the world’s disillusionment, he goes after Croatia never to return.

Warm vodka

“If we wanted to be like the writers we looked up to, we didn’t realize that most of them had lost their minds, committed suicide, or died in exile far from home. » Romance ages badly. As cultural attaché in Ankara in the early 2020s, Sébastien has a painful memory. A ghost haunts him that has never aged. With plenty of lukewarm vodka, he traces a route of anger and cowardice.

But we have to get over it, go to Osijek, a few kilometers from the Serbian border. Here is Frederic “came to this lost corner to fulfill his destiny”, will have lived the final months of its brief existence. Who was he, what did he want, what was the significance of his presence in her life? “One day we will take departing trains”, Antoine Blondin wrote at the end of L’humeur vagabonde, without saying where it would best go. A magnificent and invigorating tragedy.

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