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Threshold worlds: Marie Darrieussecq’s 'Le Pays' (2005)

Citation: Rye, Gill (2007) Threshold worlds: Marie Darrieussecq’s 'Le Pays' (2005). In: The Fantastic in Contemporary French Women’s Writing conference, September 2007, Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of London. (Unpublished)

From bodily metamorphoses to fleshy holograms, from ghosts to clones, the fantastic is a constant element of Marie Darrieussecq’s fiction but, as Shirley Jordan (2004) notes, this aspect of the author’s writing remains open for study. My paper focuses on one of Darrieussecq’s later texts, 'Le Pays' (2005), in order to explore the author’s use of a particular mode of the fantastic that I call the 'future present'. This relates to the novels’ settings at a point in the future, which is on the threshold of the present. This technique was also used in Darrieussecq’s first novels, 'Truismes' (1996) and 'Naissances de fantômes' (1998), and likewise features in two short stories on cloning, republished in 'Zoo' (2006). In situating the analysis of this novel in the context of theories of the fantastic, the paper discusses how its mobilisation of the 'future present' engages with the questions about absence and presence, memory and the past, which run through – or haunt – Darrieussecq’s oeuvre and, it is argued, contribute to a particularly gendered form of the fantastic.

Additional Information: A revised version of this paper entitled, ‘Marie Darrieussecq’s "Le Pays": Threshold Worlds’, has been published in the volume, Redefining the Real: The Fantastic in Contemporary French and Francophone Women’s Writing, ed. Margaret-Anne Hutton (Oxford and Bern: Peter Lang, 2009), pp.31-44, ISBN 978-3-03911-567-9
Creators: Rye, Gill ( and
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Keywords: Marie Darrieussecq, the fantastic, loss, memory, pregnancy
Divisions: Institute of Modern Languages Research
Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing
  • 2007 ()


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