That takes us back to the French literature thing. I think that the literature of a nation is the image of the nation. I call our age the era of nostalgia. France is living on its glorious past. On the one hand there’s the charm of old Paris, and on the other, the charm of rural France. The nostalgia, the roots. That doesn’t interest me. I live in the banlieue [suburbs] and I see that half the population of France lives in the banlieue. There are no more peasants, and in the old towns, it’s only the old bourgeois who live there. Now, when I read American books, I saw that they weren’t afraid to set a book in, I don’t know, Des Moines, or some improbable town in the Midwest or some suburb where there’s nothing, three supermarkets, a K-Mart, a Texaco station. We live like that here, but no one talks about it. Or when we talk about the banlieue it’s always to talk about the social problems, to say, “Oh the poor adolescents”. The desire to write the reality isn’t there. We live on myths, nostalgia.
Maurice Dantec.