The small office, which was that of Alain Robbe-Grillet, still smells of paint. Through the freshly patched partitions, we hear the voice of the new captain of Editions de Minuit, Thomas Simonnet, who succeeded Irène Lindon after the sale of the house to the Gallimard group. With her look of a bird fallen from the nest, her round glasses of good student, Claire Baglin, 24 years old, inaugurates the first literary return of the new era of the publishing house of Samuel Beckett and the authors of the New Novel. “Minuit interested me for its convictions, its high standards, its link with authors, its catalogue. I had read Robert Linhart, the author of workbench Charlotte Delbo, the first Becketts…” entrusts the young woman upright in her boots, respectful without being crushed by the weight of history.
Two eras and two perspectives
While her literary approach is very different from that of Robert Linhart and other factory-established writers of the 1970s, such as Leslie Kaplan, whom she also read, work, what it does to the body, is central to her work. ‘ Indoors. Alternating two eras and two perspectives, Claire Baglin weaves the memories of an 8 or 9-year-old child, the daughter of a worker, and the daily life of the adult she has become, employed on a fixed-term contract in a fast-food restaurant. “Initially, I wanted to write about the factory and about my father, who does maintenance in an auto parts factory. I spent summers questioning it and recording it, I was very interested in proletarian literature. Then I realized that it was impossible to replace factory experience with readings or testimonials, that it was not the right angle . »
Between her two years at the master of literary creation in Le Havre, she worked for three months in a fast food restaurant: “I didn’t do it to collect writing material, it was my job. At the start of the school year, I couldn’t write about anything else. A parallel was made with my father who did not understand why, when I had followed a preparatory class and studied literature, I was doing a “crappy job”. The parallel between the factory and the fast-food was born from that, more than from the notion chain or the repetition of gestures. »
Born in La Ferté-Macé, in the Orne, Claire Baglin grew up in Normandy between parents named Jérôme and Sylvie, as in things by Georges Perec “a lucky coincidence” which projects the book into the imagination of the beginnings of the consumer society. In elementary school, she wrote novels that her mother corrected, then kept a diary during her college years. After a literary baccalaureate, she moved to a town in Indre-et-Loire, where the famous fast-food restaurant is located, to pursue her higher education. After her license, at a moment of hesitation when she did not “completely discovered the literature”, she hears about the master of Le Havre. At the same time, affected by loneliness and successive confinements, she earned her living as a bookseller then, at the end of her second year, returned to fast food. “I wanted to respond to an outburst of nostalgia, a kind of tenderness vis-à-vis this work, telling myself that it wasn’t so bad. I had to take a day off to defend my thesis, I received the call from the editor in the locker room of the fast food restaurant. It got complicated. But I told myself that I was perhaps made for that, the repetition, the speed of the gestures which perhaps feels in the ‘writing. This funny moment framed the novel. »
Graduated a year ago, she works in a furniture store where she sells sofas. A carefully considered choice that gives him financial stability to continue writing: “I am full time in good conditions, it is important. I’m all in my head when I get home, unlike fast food that wouldn’t leave me alone. I was placing orders in my sleep. Having a profession, for a writer, makes it possible to enrich literature. It makes a cut and it allows me to verify that I am thinking. » A compulsive archivist, Claire Baglin kept a photo of herself at 8 or 9 years old wearing her father’s red work uniform: “This image clarified what I wanted to do and where I was talking about: a girl who dresses up and tells lies. » These lies are the other name of fiction, the small side step that transforms memories into a novel.