Our choice | Liv Maria: The Hard Core ★★★★

Julia Kerninon has a gift. That of going to dig deep in a character while recounting his life, all his lives, in barely 200 pages.

After the excellent My devotion, the French author thus proposes in Liv Maria another striking portrait of a woman, which can be read practically in one go, carried by the breath of a fluid narration, the precise writing with the contained emotion and the complexity of an imperfect and larger than life heroine.

The only child born to a Norwegian father and a French mother, Liv Maria grows up in interiority on an island, surrounded by loving parents and silent uncles. A dramatic event which occurs the year of its 17 years will push its mother to send it to study in Berlin, in the summer of 1987. It is at this moment that it will make an encounter which will change the course of its life – say rather that will influence the rest of his life.

There are enough punches and turnovers that punctuate Liv Maria to take the trouble to keep them quiet here. Even if there is not all its interest there, they give spice to this book which follows the sinuous course of a woman at the same time in control of her destiny and victim of the hazards of the life. All told in an extremely concentrated manner and without any downtime. Julia Kerninon knows each time how to get to the point, to tell a part of life of several years in a few pages, describing a place, an impression, a moment that sums it all up.

Whether in the description of the first emotions of sexual pleasure or the objects that inhabit the daily life of a young mother, there is in Liv Maria a concern for the right word, a way of putting your finger on it exactly, never flashy and yet powerful and evocative. It is that everything is seen both from the inside and from the outside, as if the protagonist is observing herself, making this dichotomy even more significant between the secret world of thoughts and memories and what and perceive others, which deceives even the people to whom one is closest.

“At night, when Flynn made love to her in the silence of their children’s sleep, she couldn’t shake the sight of her own body as a land torn between nations, with the scar from her operation, the little felt marks on his fingers, burn marks from the kitchen. And in all this me. “

This accumulation of lives in one, these layers that cover the hard core of what a person is, this is what this exciting and brilliant book which is anything but cutesy shows in filigree, which dares such an attractive female character. that abrupt and that makes no concessions to happy ending. So successful that we want more.


Liv Maria, Julia Kerninon, Annika Parance Editor, 206 pages.


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