We Are Eternal: A Novel

We Are Eternal: A Novel

by Pierette Fleutiaux

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This dense gothic novel, a bestseller in France and winner of the Femina prize, requires patience as its narrator, Estelle Helleur, takes a winding journey through her tortured life, most of which has been centered around her brother, Dan, and their love affair. Laden with existential observations, the narrative begins with the siblings' early codependence and incipient romance; Fleutiaux casts the children's incest as a natural response to an upbringing filled with terror and desolation. The haunted Helleurs, however, often suggest a French Addams family-the mother is a birdlike dancer suffering from nightmares; the father, a romantic attorney, is a depressed eccentric; Tiresia, the siblings' silent caretaker and a former concert pianist, holds the key to the children's dysfunctionality. Fragmented by pieces of past and present and including letters to the director of Estelle's convent, the story line zigzags from the French countryside to New York, Paris and the convent. The translation reads unevenly, but the most affecting passages, usually the simplest, have a lyrical beauty that will reward the dogged reader. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Familial intrigue, grief, and longing mark this richly translated modern Gothic set in post-World War II France. Thematically true to form, it abounds in unrestrained passions, tragedy, and foreboding. The recounting falls to Estelle, the last member of the Helleur family to inherit the terrible knowledge of her family's tragic past. In need of catharsis, Estelle calls out to madame-not a real person but an indefinable concept-whose creative genius she hopes will be inspired to transform her story into opera, the only artistry dramatic enough to encompass the eternal love and endless suffering of the Helleurs. Like Estelle's elusive madame, Fleutiaux has created a work of operatic proportions, one that carries its readers on great waves of emotion. We Are Eternal, which won France's prestigious Prix Femina, is the first of Fleutiaux's novels to be published in the United States. Recommended for lazy summer days and long winter nights.-Janet Wilson Reit, Univ. of Vermont Lib., Burlington

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st English language ed
Product dimensions:
6.41(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.48(d)

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