Thursday, January 25, 2018

Catherine Rey's previous work.

 From Readings Review of Rey's previous novel Stepping Out.

"The difference between a novel and autobiography,’ muses the narrator of this clearly autobiographical novel, ‘[is that] novels are closer to the truth. They’re full of the confusion, the violence and the hue and cry of truth.’ This intriguing reflection, in the midst of a ‘novel’ where the French narrator’s name is the same as the author’s, captures the elegant, intense, fiery and occasionally philosophical nature of Stepping Out.

Catherine runs away just two months before she turns 18, giving up everything for her married lover, a house painter. The two key relationships in this novel are with Marco, the lover, and Catherine’s brilliant, acerbic, deeply narcissistic mother, who left her with her grandparents at three weeks old, and has flitted in and out of her life ever since. But just as important is Catherine’s devotion to her writing. Rey reminds me of her fellow European Sybille Bedford, who also wrote evocative autobiographical novels about her eccentric family. She explores class, literature, family and feminism; all woven into a compelling story that interrogates the changing social mores of 1960s France. "

Abstract from Life Writing Journal

In the Asia-Pacific region, literature is plurilingual. Even Australian literature is not necessarily written in English. There are several contemporary Australian authors who write in languages other than English and many who write in various Englishes. This article examines one such example by analysing the life writing of Catherine Rey. It focuses upon the self-reinvention that this French author performed by migrating to Australia in mid-life. Focusing on the first-person narrative Une femme en marche (2007) and drawing comparisons with self-reflexive essays by this author, the article teases out the contrasts between Rey’s representation of France and Australia as spaces for literary creation. It then interrogates how Rey reinvents herself through linguistic play within her life writing. Using theories of ‘translanguaging’, the article analyses the ways in which this author blends French and English to probe the gaps in languages, to nuance literary representation and to create new linguistic forms to express her self-narrative.

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