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Emmanuelle Pagano

Portrait of Emmanuelle Pagano

Emmanuelle Pagano est née en 1969 à Aveyron. Elle vit maintenant en Ardèche avec trois enfants, nés en avril 1991, septembre 1995 et mai 2003. Elle a reçu son diplôme à l’Ecole des Beaux Arts et a fait des recherches universitaires dans les champs de l’esthétique, le film et multimédia.

Winning Book

Les Adolescents troglodytes (The Cave Teenagers)

Adèle, le narrateur et personnage principal du roman Les Adolescentes troglodytes est née avec un corps masculin mais a ensuite subi une opération pour devenir la femme qu’elle est maintenant. C’est l’histoire de son retour dans sa région natale où elle commence à travailler comme chauffeur de bus scolaire. Deux lacs sont évoqués dans cet extrait. Le premier est un lac artificiel qui noie aujourd’hui la ferme où Adèle est née et a vécu pendant sa jeunesse avec ses parents et son frère Axel. Le second lac est un lac naturel où elle passe beaucoup de temps, seule. C’est à côté de ce lac que le récit commence.

Cover of Les Adolescents troglodytes

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33 rue Saint-André-des-Arts, Paris, France

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Excerpt

Translated by Liam Hayes

 

Close to the lake there’s open ground where I can park. At the edge of it, an apple-tree. The rotten apples on the ground stick to the tyres that crush them to pulp. I get out and pick two that are perfectly ripe. The sun is rising, there is barely any light. I’ll have to go soon but I have enough the time to get out. From here you can’t see the water but you know the lake is there, beyond the chimera of trees. In the early morning the broad air is full of mist. This is the lake’s own space, the lake that is my sea, my time.
I often stop here between runs, before or after.
Though the apples don’t know it, it’s not yet really autumn, it’s just the beginning of September, still early morning, but going back to school makes the leaves fall, everyone can see that, and my shoes are wet with morning dew on the carpark above the forest that surrounds the lake.
Soon the days will shorten and I will only see the older children in the dark of the morning or the dark of the afternoon.
I go down, through the fine drizzle, towards the trees farther below. I could be walking out of a kind of nothingness. I follow the path that I myself opened, sometimes moving slowly along, sometimes hurrying, keen, wanting to get there fast through the boughs and misty haze. The path slopes gently, branches scratching you as you descend. There are pockets of cold wet air and the smell of water, and some days the sound of beavers in the distance, like along the river when I was small. From my footsteps, from my memory, sounds break and fade.
Where the path ends there’s a weeping birch, tall, old, bowed. Underneath it, that’s my shelter, an oval space, confined, snug. I sit down but the lake, oozing coldly up between the roots, all grey or black, is so loud despite my inner calm, despite the loneliness we share.
It is never quiet this crater-lake though it is deaf and blind, a grey void, breaking like an immemorial wave. The less it sees, the less visible it becomes. Its loud commotion echoes round.
The lake of the drowned farm is so much more calm

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