Les Mailles sanguines will not be published. At least not under this title. This week, my editor offered me another title: Falaise (The Cliff). My first reaction was to say no. It is easy to understand why. I have been wearing this title for more than ten years. Without making it a disease, I nevertheless objectified this text. Les Mailles sanguines is like Verville, as a friend told me. My publisher also offered me 3, rue de la Falaise, the address where the novel takes place.
I asked for some time to reflect, even if it was necessary to act quickly because the list of autumn publications was going to be announced. I was bored, especially having to suddenly have to hurry to think about something that seemed to me to be for granted, especially since the publishing contract had been signed with that name. My close friends also blinked at the name. They liked the first title. I had nevertheless proposed Sans demeure (without home) some time ago. So I was ready to change the title. Anyway, the next day, I share my concerns with my charming publisher. I certainly didn’t see the report too much. Falaise? In addition, there were some similar titles: La Falaise (a children’s book), Falaises (a comic book and a novel)… I was confused. A title is certainly not the end of the world, but still? Is that my baby after all? Aren’t parents the ones who usually name their offspring? On the other hand, what difference does it make, really? I have long since learned that a text, once it has been taken out of the computer and sent to others, no longer belongs to you. My editor replied as follows:
Hello Guy, I understand your hesitation. That said, here, Falaise is very popular at VLB (obviously, with people who have not read the text, but who have a rather sharp sense of advertisement, after all). On a cover, it’s short, enigmatic and selling. For those comics and youth books, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. It seems to me that the address was a good track too, but the shape is a little agreed… For me, a cliff is what seems insurmountable. It is the place from which we contemplate what is far away (childhood), from which we cannot see well (the blindness of anger). It’s the name of the street, of course. It is also this father who stands up, unfazed, even dead, to counter his children’s desires and ambitions. It is a heart of stone and a landscape. Les Mailles sanguines is certainly significant, but a little forced: it is not pronounced so well, and it seems to be a diversion from other tired phrases like “tightly woven” and “blood ties”. It was indeed difficult to find another interesting track, but this one, for once, I like very much. Thank you, by the way, for your openness. Did I convince you? I’m waiting to hear from you.
Well, yes, she convinced me. I immediately sent him my agreement by a simple: OK, go! This surprised him, congratulated me once again on my openness. This novel has been called that for almost a week now. It’s fine with me now, especially since the editorial team seems excited to be able to use such a title. Sell now! Make me a famous or rich man (maybe both?). If the gaze of others, sometimes and often, can kill and castrate, it also makes it possible to go further, to illuminate our shadows differently. That’s what I want.
Long live Falaise.