Sous les pavés l'orage

Under the Cobbles, the Storm
Sous les pavés l'orage

Philippe Delepierre

May 1968.  A zany counter-cultural slogan is smeared across the façade of the Maxence Van der Meersch Secondary School.  Upstairs, from his office window, the head teacher calmly observes the youths moving about below. But his is a misplaced calm which his assassin is about to take advantage of to push him out of the window.  And this is just the first victim in a series of murders targeting men in the public eye, and always accompanied with extremist slogans.  And yet this obvious lead of a political crime seems too easy to Police Commissioner Thibaud, an old veteran whose contacts go back to the Resistance.  While the investigation bogs down, general assemblies of the Youth and Community Centre are being packed out, just like the concerts of the rock group “The Bats.” This group is a special favourite of Robert, a working-class secondary school student with a hang-up about his unattractive physique.  Filled with so many frustrations and grudges, he lets off steam as best he can: drumming, bicycling, and little acts of personal vengeance.  That he’s got scores to settle, no one doubts it; but from that to killing?  Commissioner Thibaud wonders…  Philippe Delepierre here offers an amusing and incisive portrait of French society in May 1968, all classes included.  Those who are nostalgic about that time will recognise themselves; everyone else will find a lot to learn.

The author of Fred Hamster et Madame Lilas (sold in Italy to Piemme), winner of the 2004 RTL-Lire Prize, and of Gadoues, published in 2007, Philippe Delepierre is a teacher of literature in a secondary school near Lille.

  • Published on avril 3rd, 2008
  • 306 pages