Vincente, let’s call him Vince, is gay. He has a sponsor when he is called “Tarlouze” or from “pedal”. He bangs. But this boy doesn’t just have fists. He has a heart – a heart to take. He has a head, too. His evocations of coveted silhouettes in the metro or on the beach – his “Stolen boys” – are a treat. A special character has been chosen for these inserts, there are also text messages, footnotes, graffiti, a whole game that makes the novel dynamic and inventive as you can be at 16.
“You will understand, seeing my diary: I would like to find love. This is my primary ambition. If it bothers you or if you find me too obsessed with sex, you’d better stop reading there because I’m warning you: I only think about that, I’m only talking about that. “ Vince’s first problem at the beginning of the book is that he is falling out with his childhood friend Octave. The second problem … but needless to say too much. We’re not done with Octave, who goes out with Louise and loves Truffaut movies, while Vince prefers movies where boys love each other.
What we can say is that Arnaud Cathrine is precise and delicate in the sex scenes, “I kiss the bottom of his neck, his nipples, his navel, I breathe his hair, I take his cock in my mouth, a feeling of a letchi on my tongue, I suck it”. Or: “He joins me. Our cold feet tangled. Our inversely hot dicks, crossed swords. His breath in my breath. The warm, fragrant den of his mouth. My love.”
What if it wasn’t love? It looks like it. Other characters are involved in this issue, including the friend Rokia. And then Vince’s mother, to whom he owes his Italian first name, Vincente. Special mention to this inveterate smoker, insomniac, great reader (she is a bookseller) who softens shocks with a background of whiskey, has a humor and a sagacity to any test. It could come out of a Xavier Dolan film.
Romance, by Arnaud Cathrine. Laffont “R”, 304 pp., € 16.50 From 13 years old.