“Like a song”, a novel by Brice Torrecillas
A return to the 80s in Toulouse and in song? In his last Romain, Brice Torrecillas we invite you to retrace the memories of a young artist, Boris Beaumont. Toulouse of the 80s is the setting of this book in which mingle music, friendship and reverie. The story begins at the funeral of Paul Maraval, a former friend of Boris Beaumont. This event will immerse the latter in his memories.
In bookstores since Thursday, November 17, “Like a song” is the sixth novel by Brice Torrecillas. He is an author, freelance journalist and professor in Toulouse. In an interview given to The Independent Opinionhe confides.
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What inspired you to write this novel?
In fact, it’s a book that has followed me for years. I first made several versions before this final version. But if I gave it so much thought, it’s because it’s a novel inspired by my own story. Before becoming a teacher and novelist, I was first devoted to songwriting and interpretation. When I was a kid, we see that in the book, I really dreamed of being what is called a “variety singer”. So from ten to 30 years old, I only dreamed of that, I lived only for that: I wrote, I sang… I tell this fictionalized story through the character of Boris Beaumont.
So you worked in the music world like him?
I was recording demos in the studio and performing on stage. I was looking for producers to defend my work and I found two a few years before dropping out. They were very renowned producers on the French scene, including one who lived in the Toulouse region, who was called Richard Seff. He was notably the producer of Toulouse singers of the 80s, such as Jean-Pierre Mader, Émile and Images…
Is it a fingertip dream?
At that time, I was nearing the end of my dream, if you can put it that way. I’ve worked with people like that, but it didn’t turn out the way I hoped. I turned the page. I became a teacher, as my character becomes in the book. And I started to write because I needed an artistic expression. Even if I gave up on my dream as a singer, I had this whole story to tell. Because from my ten to my 30 years, my childhood and my youth, it was the song.
And then, you changed your career, but you still like the song?
Then, I “intellectualized” myself if I can say so. I listen to a lot less songs. Besides, I don’t always know the names of the current singers. But I don’t have the contempt that some intellectuals may have for this popular expression which seems essential to me. The song has its letters of nobility. There are very great authors who wrote for the song like Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Cocteau, or even Patrick Modiano… The song is composed of a voice, but it is not essential to be an opera singer ; of music, but it is not useful to be Mozart; lyrics, but you don’t have to be Shakespeare. But when you combine these three disciplines, you can sometimes reach for the stars!
Is song a universal language?
Absolutely. There is nothing like expressing our emotions. Our Nobel Prize for Literature, Annie Ernaux, praises it, agreeing that it retains no memories, such as photos. And the music, it is shared. For Boris Beaumont, everything is song. Through my novel, I paint the portrait of a third character, the 80s. We find these somewhat crazy years, during which probably cared a little too much about appearances.
But it’s not just music in the book…
There is also, indeed, a great story of friendship linked to the song. Boris Beaumont is taken under the wing of an artistic director from Toulouse named Paul Maraval. We discover the friendly ties and then a little more about the problems of these characters, both in search of success.
Music, friendship… But also Toulouse
It’s true ! There is a regional anchoring in the novel because if Boris goes to Paris to try to win the stars, he is above all a Toulousain. As a narrator, he tells us about Toulouse in the 80s. We then find places in the Pink City that have sometimes disappeared, but above all the Toulouse atmosphere of those years. A time when, on the song side, Toulouse was very well off. There was a whole hotbed of successful singers here. Ditto for the producers and the recording studios which attracted artists from everywhere. Toulouse, in the 80s, was a major place for French song.
The novel “Like a Song” by Brice Torrecillas is now available in bookstores and editions Arcanum 17. The author will also be at the White Shadows Library this Saturday, November 19 from 6 p.m. for a meeting around the book.
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