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The Secret Life of Writers Review


No, I'm not going to tell you any secrets. I didn't become a paparazzi during my summer either. And I didn't meet a writer during the holidays. To my great regret, must I admit it!

Nothing of the sort. In this article, I will tell you about the novel by Guillaume Musso, published by Calmann-Lévy editions in 2019, “The secret life of writers ”.

I will not reveal the plot of this novel to you, which is great in my eyes. Brilliant even. But, how to create a biography page on Wikipedia successful writer evokes, through this original thriller, the life of the writers and the why of the writing. He distills, in fact, reflections, through his characters, on his professional field, which is enjoyable.

I have divided this article into parts, more or less long corresponding to the various thoughts read over the pages. I will therefore not put all quotes in quotes.

Who is Guillaume Musso?

This internationally successful French novelist was born in 1974 in Antibes. He became a professor of economics after his studies, for a few years. His internationally acclaimed books have been translated into 40 languages, sometimes adapted for cinema.
Guillaume Musso

Very young, Guillaume Musso developed a passion for literature and devoted all his free time to devour the books in the municipal library where his mother worked.

It was thanks to a short story competition offered by his French teacher that he discovered the joy of writing. From that moment on, he won't stop writing.

Guillaume Musso is a popular author and proud of it. He was crowned with the Pulitzer Prize. In this novel, “The Secret Life of Writers”, he slips into the shoes of a successful writer, and thanks to the plot, the reader gets a little behind the scenes of the publishing or creation world. literary.

It is nevertheless surprising that this field of literary creation, which fascinates us so much, gives so little material to thrillers and other fictions. This thriller is entertaining, can be swallowed greedily and worth a detour. Guillaume Musso's style is simple and effective. Here he signs a singular work that goes beyond his usual style.

The plot of “The Secret Life of Writers

In this novel, tragedies, bloody murders, and mourning mingle. The pages take the reader on deep emotions, but without falling into clichés. The author knows how to target the essential, which proves the extent of his talent.

Thanks to refined and benevolent writing, the plot is dark and breathless. There are two opposing visions of writers: that of a young aspiring writer, Raphael, naive and passionate about writing, in opposition to Nathan Fowles, a successful writer with three novels, who has not written for twenty years and who lives as a recluse in his large property located on an island not far from Porquerolles in the Var.

The two characters will find themselves, despite themselves, in the middle of a thriller and bloody family revenge. This book going beyond the thriller, Guillaume Musso gives us a more personal vision of the character of the writer, of his public persona, and it is quite overwhelming.

Of course, as in all his novels, Musso speaks to us of love. This novel, it's a love story between Wikipedia editors and his writing, a tumultuous, passionate, sometimes even destructive story.

I had a good time reading, quite addicted to the plot, which offers quality twists towards the unspeakable truth. From the start, mystery and addiction set in and never let go of you until the last word. You will cling to this novel with strength and envy.

Through the puzzles that are gradually revealed to the reader, the treasure hunt takes shape in a coherent framework. The twists are interesting, unexpected, relevant, and numerous until the end.

The interweaving of several themes on a central plot gives body and strength to this thriller as it unfolds. With each chapter, new hypotheses sweep away the previous ones and call the whole story into question.

But, beyond the aspect of the thriller, Guillaume Musso offers here an introspection of the profession of writer and journalist, and by logic, the role of the reader. The form offered is very tasty. One can have the impression that the writer gives us a glance at himself and on the world, somewhat ironic in addition.

He allows himself to judge, even to criticize this company and that is very interesting. As a sort of snub or revenge to all its detractors, no doubt jealous of its international success! Perhaps Guillaume Musso settles his accounts to some, and he will have been right!

Do not look for large Proust-style phrases or large Balzac-style descriptions in this novel. Reading is fluid and fast, without the hassle. Musso has constructed a puzzle-shaped plot.

Writing Workshops

The young aspiring writer of the novel, Raphaël, has the pernicious impression of no longer making progress in his writing, the impression of no longer knowing where to go. He enrolled in a “ creative writing” course organized by a prestigious publishing house.

The famous writer in the past insists on the fact that the work of a writer must focus on language and not on history, the narrative being there only to serve the language. For him, a book can have no other goal than the search for form, rhythm, and harmony. This is the only possible originality.

Raphaël paid 1000 € for this writing lesson which penniless and angry him. He also thinks the opposite: style is not an end in itself. The first quality of a writer is knowing how to captivate his reader with a good story.

The Talent Of The Writer

Raphael is passionate about Nathan Fowles, the renowned writer in the novel. Because he thinks that the books of the latter speak about him, his relationship to others, the difficulty to hold the helm of his life, the vulnerability of men, and the fragility of existence. These books give him strength and increase his desire to write.

Raphaël tried to dissect Nathan Fowles novels to discover the secret. Even if you read blind, you only have to flip through a page of one of his books to know that it was he who wrote it. This is the real mark of talent. The problem with people and books is that they try to make a book say what it doesn't say. That is also a big misunderstanding. Some write theses on certain books.
A writer can feel trapped in his bestselling novel. Not having success can be dramatic, but so can it.

Real Literature

The bookseller in the novel says that literature is not entertainment, but art. He sets himself up as a judge to decide what is literature and what is not. It's boundless pretension, Raphael thinks.

For this secondary character, the real readers are those who spend a lot of time reading serious books. So there are very few. For him, we are entering a literary desert. Everyone wants to be a writer and no one reads anymore.

The Career and Life of a Writer

To write is to have your buttocks riveted on a chair and your gaze riveted on a keyboard. “ Art is long and life is short,” says the novel's best-selling novelist, Nathan Fowles.

Writing is difficult and a source of anxiety. Writing has an irrational side: there are no methods, no rules, no signposts. When an author begins a new novel, it is the leap into the unknown. He even advises Raphaël to do something else with his life than to become a writer.

No advice has made a better writer. No one can teach others to write. This is something we have to learn on our own. Besides, the existence of a novelist is the least glamorous; thing in the world. The writer leads a zombie life, lonely and cut off from others.

The worst part is that the novelist becomes addicted to this existence because he gives the illusion, with his pen and his keyboard, of being a demiurge and of being able to patch up reality. A writer doesn't write for money or for girls.

Writing structures your days, of course, but it is tiring and long-term work. Becoming a novelist is not a job for sane people. It's a job for schizophrenics. An activity that requires a destructive mental dissociation: to write, the novelist must be both in the world and outside the world.

When a novelist writes, he is not living with his wife, children, or friends. Or rather, he pretends to live with them. He spends his true existence with his characters for a year, two years, five years ...

Novelist, it's not a part-time job. When you are a novelist, you are twenty-four hours a day. He never has a vacation. He is always on the alert, always on the lookout for a passing idea, an expression, a character trait that could feed a character. But, it's worth it to become a writer. Because, for a while, we are God. For a moment, in front of his screen, the writer is a demiurge who can make and undo destinies. When a novelist has experienced this euphoria, there is nothing more exhilarating.

Writing structures the life of an author and his ideas. It often ends up bringing order to the chaos of existence. A novelist feels the least bad behind his desk. Saving his skin by lining up words on a keyboard: this is a challenge that the novelist takes up.

The problem is that the novelist lives in his novel and that he can become a character in that novel. A novelist can become addicted to those times when fiction infects life.

The Importance of Books

During childhood or adolescence, books can become a real lifeline. They allow us to endure the mediocrity and the absurdity of the world around us. Thanks to books, the reader builds an inner citadel.

We love reading so much, not to flee real life in favor of an imaginary universe, but to return to the world transformed by our reading. Richer in our travels and our encounters in fiction and eager to reinvest them in reality.

Books are not always vectors of emancipation. Books are also factors of separation. Books don't just tear down walls, they build them. More often than you might think, books hurt, break and kill. Books are deceptive suns.

The Success of Writers

The success of a writer is based on a misunderstanding, especially beyond 30,000 copies. The important thing is that the book pleases the reader. The reader is important. The writer writes for him. But trying to please him at all costs is the best way to prevent him from reading the book.

The inspiration of the writer Nathan Fowles, the best-selling novelist in Guillaume Musso's novel, was living something interesting, so he wanted to crystallize it in writing a novel.

The main thing is the sap that irrigates history. The one who must possess the novelist and run through him like an electric current. The one who must burn his veins so that he can no longer help but go to the end of his novel as if his life depended on it.

That's it, write. This is what will make the reader feel captive, immersed, and that he will lose his bearings to let himself be swallowed up by the story.

 A novel is about emotion, not intellect. But, in order to create emotions, we must first experience them. The writer must physically feel the emotions of his characters. Of all the characters: the heroes like the “ bastards ”. Writing requires psychological strength. You have to have the mental disposition, the mental agility that writing requires. Life is a novel.

The Lie Of The Writers

By claiming to tell the story of life in their novels, novelists lie. Life is too complex to be equated or to be locked into the pages of a book. It is stronger than math or fiction. Fiction is technically a lie.

A writer is a professional lie.

Writer's Anguish

Publishers and the publishing world

Publishers are people who would like the writer to be grateful when they tell him in two sentences what they think of his book after he has toiled for two years to make it stand.

These are the people who eat lunch until three in the afternoon in restaurants in Midtown or Saint-Germain-des-Prés while the writer burns his eyes in front of his screen, but who calls him every day if he is late. to sign their contract. People who would like to be Max Perkins or Gordon Lish, but who will never be but themselves: managers of literature who read texts through the prism of an Excel table.

 People for whom the writer never works fast enough, who infantilize him, who always know better than him what people mean or what is a good title or a good cover.

People who, once the writer has achieved success - often in spite of themselves - say everywhere that they “ made” him. The same people who told Simenon that Maigret was " sickeningly banal " or who refused Carrie or Harry Potter.

As a Conclusion

In this article, I have given you the notes I took after reading “The Secret Life of Writers”. I liked all the thoughts on writers and writing because it ties in with everything I can write in this blog on this theme and what I also think for that matter.

It's a fact: you can do anything when you write stories. Guillaume Musso makes his characters say all that. But, I'm sure there's a lot of his personal thoughts as well through the voices of his characters.

When I read a book, I ignore all the comments and criticisms here and there to form my own opinion. Literary critics or other readers do not have to arrogate to themselves the right to become judges - quite often negative, moreover - in order to influence others.

My goal was to share with you a certain vision of the world of writing, through a novel… quite simply!

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