The narrator learns indiscreetly that his wife has a lover. Desperate to save his marriage, he tells his wife that he has a cancer. He immediately regrets this stupid declaration but does not have the courage to backpeddle. The rumour escapes and spreads, metastising like his invented illness. Prisoner of his lie, divided between his conscience and cowardice, he sees his life sinking into the absurd.
Quotes from the book
“I still ask myself what possessed me to have a cancer of the colon. I wasn’t short of possibilities. I could quite easily have chosen a worryingly high level of diabetes, an inflammation of the colon or just satisfied myself with simple heart palpitations. When I say choose, the word is not quite accurate. There was not any real premeditation. The illness suddenly arrived in the middle of a meal. During the salad I was in good health – as much could be expected for a thirty eight year old man who has only ever had a nodding relationship with sport. Yet between the main dish and the cheese, without any warning, I was stricken by a cancer of the colon. It happened without any symptoms. I didn’t realise at the time what I had just caught and all that it would lead to. If I had known, I would surely have been stricken by something completely different – or maybe nothing at all. “
“I started by having my own private cancer, just for Sophie and myself, just to save us, to give our marriage a last chance. But it escaped me. It slipped through my fingers. There came a moment when I was no longer its master. Despite my efforts, it breached the walls of the house and flew away. It reached the school, the street, it spread. It did what every cancer does when not controlled; it metastised.”
“I am progressively becoming aware of a terrifying axiom; the more people you find who believe you, the more your affirmation is real.”
“Recently I have become a past-master in the art of taking two steps back every time I manage to take one forward. The dance of the false cancer. As much as I tell myself that my act is born of a desire to hear that laugh again, I have no illusions; it is really pure cowardice.”
Fabrice Caro, born in 1973, has won several awards for his novels. He is also a scriptwriter and cartoonist (under a pseudonym)..
His first book, “Figurec”, was published by Gallimard. The rights were sold for adaptation as a comic strip (De Metter, Casterman) and a play for the theatre .