August 11, 2020

«Work can kill or have kill»

Ledun, one of the greats of the black genre of the neighboring country, centers the happiest part of «Rest or be free» (Ed. Versatile), 2019 Mediterranean Letters Award in the category of black novel, in Castellón.

This is where his protagonist, Stéphane Guyot, falls in love with a great mechanic who at 50 years forces to work against the clock, although that influences the quality of his always extraordinary service. All for the benefits. But the search for profitability can sometimes kill …

– Are the black novels of our social era before anything else?

– By definition, they offer stories where the characters struggle with social or economic disorders. In that sense, yes, the black novel is social literature, as were some naturalists of the nineteenth century, Zola or the Balzac of "Madame Bovary." That is, they applied the methods of journalism or the social sciences to describe the world in which we live.

– Nothing kills more and better than anything that has to do with work?

– Whether in the mines that produced coal in the 19th century, in French prisons, in colonies where they practiced black trafficking or in neo-Taylorist companies in the early twentieth century, work kills slowly, safely, and sometimes brutally because it implies an unequal subordination and brutal methods destined, not to make workers live, but to obtain benefit to the detriment of the human, nature and any form of social bond that does not serve their bosses. From Chaplin's modern times or Caldwell's novels in the 30s and 40s, art, literature and cinema illustrate this bitter truth / observation / discovery: work should free the individual but instead alienates them because a number small of men has decided to obtain a greater benefit.

–You know as a sociologist and from your own experience, don't you? I think the burnout led him to literature …

– It was not a "burnout", but a real depression related to my working conditions in France Telecom between 2000 and 2007. And it was not the depression (and that semi-healing) that got me into the literature, but the own one literature that emerged from me and allowed me to step back (and not heal). But yes, work, when done outside of any individual and collective reflection, outside of any collective bargaining, apart from any consideration of work intelligence, whatever its task, can cause suffering because it is violent and unnatural and can kill Or send kill.

– In the book it talks about the pressure that is exerted with so many workers. How everything should be done in the shortest possible time, in the worst conditions with maximum performance. What repercussions could these requirements have?

– The destruction of any social bond, of all the beauty that people at work can produce if we leave room for the radical imaginary that they can implement as soon as they participate in the process of establishing work. What a disaster, right?

–And in each one of us?

–That is the difference between the prescribed work and the real work. The human being is capable of the best if he is given total freedom to jointly manage the difference between what they are asked for in the name of productivity and what they believe is best for them, for their working conditions, for those who They will use what they produce. Some decide to be better than the machine itself that crushes them for being exemplary, but it is a struggle lost beforehand and, sooner or later, they end up losing. The machine is stronger than them because it serves an interest that is not theirs.

– We can all ask what Stéphane Guyot in our work, but we are not all heroes like him … Are we in danger?

–Some of us, yes. Most develop protection strategies, such as denial and fatigue, or, on the contrary, voluntary servitude. Some even choose to be bastards. Not everyone will die, but they have hit us all.

-During the story of a man who sees how all hope disappears, Lola appears … What does it symbolize?

– It is precisely hope. Lola is the loving utopia, the embodiment of the idea that our lives do not have to be centered around work. Love is another pole of life, just like friendship. Pleasure. Life is not reduced to our function at work. Stéphane is not just his job. It is important to repeat this at a time when our lives, from an early age, focus on the value of work, in our future as workers, then in our active life, in our accomplishment in our work, and then in our retirement. .

–Lola comes from Castellón; Within the context of this story, what does Castellón mean?

-Castellón, which is a working, working city, symbolizes escape, field work for Stéphane Guyot. It is a way to forget your daily life, but at the same time, it is a forward flight, a decoy.

– Actually, Castellón is Lola and Lola is love … Do you have a particular relationship with Spain?

– I live near the Spanish border, near the Basque Country, and, although it seems like a cliché, for me Spain represents the joy and the desire to live, to open up to others, to go out late at night; the bars and restaurants are always full, people argue, laugh, drink and enjoy despite the difficulties of everyday life.

– His work contains a social complaint, but also emotion and poetry. Is this your recipe for the black novel, literature and life?

– Literature is life! And, in life, darkness also rhymes with beauty, love, poetry, imagination, laughter. Let's face the times with the subversive weapons of laughter, love, poetry and the black novel!

. (tagsToTranslate) Culture

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