Never Trust Well-Behaved Children
Number of pages
There is nothing in her hometown, the teenage girl thinks, that can make her happy. And so, at twenty-two she leaves for San Francisco, where she discovers a sense of freedom and learns to enjoy life. Never, she tells herself, will she return to the place where she grew up. But four years later she does return, to see her dying mother; and she stays, marries, has a daughter, and becomes a traditional housewife.
Lua, her daughter, is also drawn to the city, but she experiences her small hometown on a completely different level than her mother. As a teenager she lives in a poetic and magical world, a far cry from the ghost town her mother thought she lived in. Lua’s world is peopled with marginal yet endearing characters. Her best friend and neighbor is Eddy, an ex-junkie. Her handsome teacher is JF, a man who gave up his dream of being a pianist. Even her father is not quite standard issue: He is a passionate biologist who brings Lua back a huge spider from his lab, Popeye, that becomes the basis of her nightmares. In a dark turn, all these lives do not end well: We learn that Lua’s relationships finish in death or departure . . . and yet, unlike her mother, Lua is happy in this place.
The ambiance that the author builds in this short novel is different and yet the same for Lua and her mother as teenagers—a combination of innocence and melancholy, hope and resignation. The result is a story about place and of people across the generations.
Cécile Coulon :
Cécile Coulon is twenty years old. Never Trust Well-Behaved Children is her third book. She previously published a novel, Le voleur de vie, and a book of short stories, Sauvages, both published by Éditions Revoir.