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The warrior of the new world (M. Poirson-Dechonne)


In his latest novel, The warrior of the new world, Marion Poirson-Dechonne presents the life of a timeless historical figure, a person who appears out of the ordinary for his time. Resembling a Joan of Arc from the new world, made to fight and conquer, Catalina de Erauso is a woman in love with freedom, ready to escape by all means to escape this condition that her family has attributed to her, that of a nun. consecrated by God, in order to thus take his destiny in hand.

Presentation

Young Catalina de Erauso refuses to accept her life as a nun, cloistered in a convent. Like her brother Miguel, waging war across the globe, she dreams only of discovery and adventure. To achieve her ends, she intends to shed her status as a woman. Helped by her androgynous physique, she not only seeks to look like a man but really to be one. His devouring thirst for freedom and sensation will lead him to travel far from his native Spain, to discover and tame new lands of South America in the 17th century.e century while hiding the truth about her gender. From her formidable epic, she earned the nickname of La monja Afferez, the nun lieutenant.

Our opinion

Prolix and elegant, Marion Poirson-Dechonne's pen quickly takes us to the heart of the different atmospheres that her heroine rubs shoulders with. However, the reader struggles to immerse themselves in the story which centers exclusively on the character of Catalina. The other protagonists are here only to play too subordinate and minor roles, gusting through the time of a chapter or two. Let us think, for example, of the excellent and enigmatic Brother Tibullus, a disciple of Lucretia that our nun lieutenant met during his journey to the new world. We are only waiting for one thing, and that is to see it again, to be able to discover it and to know its history. If the author meets our expectations afterwards, it is always too stealthily. Catalina is thus the only real character in the novel whose reading boils down to the chain of her adventures occurring with surprising rapidity: journey, fight, duel, discovery, all against a background of existential questioning. The historical setting only serves as a backdrop to tell the story of this undoubtedly atypical woman, whose adventures are only exceptional because she is a woman. Considering the quality of the author’s writing, it’s a shame that we’re still hungry.

Extract

When the prayer bell rang, she left the convent and joined her friend. No guard shows up. Nobody worries him. He supper, and discuss. Hearing ten o'clock strike, they take their swords and cloaks and make their way to the appointed place. The night, a matte, mineral black, is a flat tint of dull lacquer, an obsidian screen deprived of all shine. The thinned moon increments its Kindjal blade and dagger on the sky, without diffusing any clarity. The darkness is so deep that you can't even see your hands. Catalina notices.

- We need a sign of recognition.

- Let's each tie our handkerchief to the arm.

They wait a few minutes. Their opponents arise.

Marion Poirson-Dechonne, The warrior of the new world, Éditions Rouge Safran, 2012.


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