“To get to know a region, you have to understand its history”

by time news

2023-08-18 07:25:12

Stories don’t come out of nowhere. Élise Fischer’s next novel, The Silences of Jeannette, does not derogate from the pretty rule of camping Lorraine by history, and in this case more precisely by family history. The novelist unfolds the life of her grandmother, a young orphan, and her meeting with the man who will become her grandfather. The story opens in the spring of 1933 in Champigneulles, near Nancy, where Élise Fischer was born in 1948.

“My mother was from Alsace and my father from Lorraine, says the writer. Like all teenagers, I didn’t like my region, I wanted to go elsewhere. » Lorraine, however, earned him enlightening encounters, such as that of Jacques Chérèque, scout leader, trade unionist and politician who would be a minister in the Rocard government. “He taught me a lot about the working world and its generosity, these were valuable lessons. »

Having become a leader, Élise Fischer’s wolf cub is François Chérèque, the son, who will follow his union path and will be general secretary of the CFDT. But now her husband’s transfer brings her to the Paris region. She hardly stays away from her native land for long: “There was no month without returning to see friends, family and places again. For example, I came back to the hill of Sion, nicknamed the Inspired Hill, which offers a beautiful view of the Vosges and Lorraine. »

A history of Lorraine

Literary journalist at Bayard Presse, notably at On the female side, Élise Fischer devotes her first books to the cause of children. With The Wrath of Fly, an intimate novel, she links this concern to her region by addressing the issue of incest. In Three Queens for a Crownit evokes the Champigneulles brewery, which sells the queen of beers.

She learns about the factory of the master glassmaker Daum, inseparable from the school of Nancy, art nouveau and arts deco, to write Crystal Wedding Rings. “The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Place Stanislas, in Nancy, brings together in its basement all the works of the Daum, to fall to one’s knees in front of so many marvels”, launches Élise Fischer.

Gates of Place Stanislas and Nancy Cathedral. To write Les Alliances de cristal, Élise Fischer researched the factory of the master glassmaker Daum, whose works are exhibited in the basement of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Place Stanislas. / MATTHEW COLIN/DIVERGENCE

She also attaches at the Château de Lunéville, located 20 km from Nancy, in Mysterious Manon : “I use personalities who have existed, such as Léopold, the Duke of Lorraine, and Stanislas, to tell the story of the lives of my heroines, she continues. My mother told me that to know a region, you have to know its history. I got down to it, also taking an interest in the steel industry and the miners, since the surroundings welcomed Russians, Algerians and Poles who worked together. »

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An openness to the world, a curiosity nourished by a Christian faith anchored in the body. Every time she enters Nancy Cathedral or Saint-Epvre Basilica, Élise Fischer remembers her mother’s words: “Whether you believe it or not, to enter a holy place is always to feel covered in beauty and light. »

loyal readers

Being anchored in a territory offers Élise Fischer, who returned to live there in 2007 at the time of her retirement, a unique position as a representative of Lorraine. This is the case with readers who discover the region through its books, but also with people from Lorraine who are happy to see their presence in bookstores in Brest or Corsica.

In Nancy, at the Salon du livre on the square, Élise Fischer has her followers: “A gentleman in his fifties tells me that since I went to his daughter’s class, she doesn’t want to miss any of my books. Even in New York, she wanted to read me. »

For the novelist, the best encounters take place with young people in school, college and high school classes. This is what prompted her to accept the presidency of the Grand Est short story competition, created in 1988 by Roger Bichelberger for high school students: “Their feathers are beautiful and hectic. It is up to us, adults, to reach out to them and show them that the power of words heals all the wounds of life. »


Journalist, novelist and avid reader

July 13, 1948. Born in Champigneulles, in Meurthe-et-Moselle.

1969. Marriage at the church of Frouard.

1981. Installation in Paris.

1984. Journalist at Catholic France, Panorama and Radio Notre-Dame, beginning of a collaboration with the radio that she will continue for a long time at RCF.

1988. Publication of his first book, an essay, The Children of Apartheid (Fayard).

1998.The Wrath of Fly (Mazarine), first novel.

2005. Prize for the General Councilors of the Lorraine region and Victor-Hugo prize for The Sun of Miners (City press).

2007. Return to Lorraine, to Fontenoy-la-Joûte.

2010. Nancy Proven Prize for When I grow up (Fayard).

August 23, 2023. Literary comeback with The Silences of Jeannette (Calmann-Levy).

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