Mayenne: With his novel Inside Me, Thomas Pouteau blurs the line between fiction and reality

book by Thomas Pouteau, inside minepublished in December 2021, it is on sale in Mayenne bookstores, such as here, in the Marais bookstore, in Mayenne. (©CDLM)

Every year, several thousand people disappear voluntarily, without leaving an address. “2,500”, according to Thomas Pouteau.

But other figures, sometimes much higher, are advanced by various means. “In Japan there are 100,000 every year,” says the young author of Mayenne, who decided to make it one of the themes of his first novel. inside minepublished in december 2021.

“I was wondering about the reasons for this act, about the violence of the world against which disappearing into nature seems to constitute a space of freedom”

Thomas Pouteauauthor mayenne

At 24, this former graduate of laval stadium this is not his first attempt. The book of testimonies of him, I’m coming back from anorexiapublished in 2019, even made it a “flagship” of this cause.

“I didn’t look for it, I wanted above all to write a book. It was my editor who suggested that I focus on anorexia. »

At the time, I was finishing a bachelor’s degree in geography at Argentinaand writing, which he has practiced “since he was a child”, appears to him as “an imperative, a distancing from oneself”.

Since his sports studies in high school, sport had taken “too big a place” in his life. “He had relegated writing behind the curtain of everyday life. At 19 I got back into the habit of writing. It has become a primary resource, just like food and water. »

Today, Thomas Pouteau works in the cinema. the voiceon Mayenneas communications officer. These multiple experiences “feed me”, analyzes the author.

Videos: currently on Actu

“But I tend to forget, a bit like an actor who has to quickly get into a new role. That’s why I write: so I don’t forget what the world forgets.”

This novel is also a way to “counteract” the label that his first book attached to him. Which does not prevent it from being “even more personal”.

The hero is named after him and evolves in his homelands of Mayenne. His father, like the author’s, is a worker in a factory.Ernee. “The factory, cold, that breaks backs and bends bodies”, describes the writer.

Where does fiction begin?

Returning from abroad, the protagonist learns that his father has disappeared, leaving no trace. A few days before his retirement and after learning that he was ill. Instead of trying to find him, he tries to piece together and imagine what his last month might have been like.

How real is it, where does the fiction begin? Thomas Pouteau responds to this question with a shrug and an enigmatic smile. “The most important question is whether the reader believes it…”

Their parents, first readers, believed in them. “They even worried a bit! »

Throughout the pages, the reader of Mayenne will recognize familiar places: the Laval racecourse, Ernée, matches at the Stade Lavallois… “By aiming at the particular, we can touch the universal”, hopes the author.

Novel: Inside my own, Thomas Pouteau, Maïa editions, 2021, 161 pages, €18.

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