Today I’m going to speak about When the night becomes day, a shocking and realistic novel by Sophie Jomain on the desire to die. The novel is French and published in 2016. The author seizes on a serious subject, that of euthanasia, through a young woman, Camille, who has suffered fromsevere depression since her teenager.
There are novels that one does not want to let go, and that one is nostalgic to close, once the last page read. This is the case here. If the question of euthanasia is not new, the way the author treats it comes out of sight and revision. When the night becomes day is written from the point of view of Camille, a young woman of twenty-nine years old. She recounts her life as in a newspaper, she invites us in her head and introduces us to the one that accompanies her from her early memories of youth until the present of her story : her suffering. Yet the young woman, an only child, lives in a loving family, with parents with a comfortable financial situation and infinite love for their daughter. But Camille can not bear : a violent physical rejection that causes her to make several suicide attempts and lead to violent physical pain like headaches or vomiting.This hatred towards her body begins at twelve years when she is very skin. Then as a teenager, she becomes obese and then alternates phases of anorexia and obesity for several years. When she decides to ask for euthanasia in Belgium, she is almost thirty-years old. This is accepted despite the fact that she does not have an incurable disease, as doctors consider it an incurable depression. She then goes to a medical-psychiatric clinic about two months before her scheduled death.
The story continue and we attach ourselves to Camille, we hope that each pages will be sweeter for her. And this is the case. With the arrival at the clinic, the novel is less black, one even smiles and one has the impression that the weight that carries Camille is less heavy. But it is without counting the days and hours that pass, bringing the young woman closer to her death. The story told is very violent. From the very first lines, the reading is difficult. We’re wondering if we should continue. When we continue to read, we follow Camille gradually from childhood to her twenty-nine years old. We see the difficulty of adulthood, the first emotions in love, the doubts, the difficult self-acceptance, etc… The author describes extremely well the pain of Camille and the rejection of her body, all the more so as the author tells the story in the first person. And yet, one can not imagine the pain she feels. For the character, the violence of these questions is multiplied. We do not know if it is she who has never accepted her body, or if society has never allowed, accepted her. The author has found the words and the way to speak of a very hard subject, and still taboo in France, without falling into the psychological tearing or the excess. It’s written with accuracy and for my part, I understand the choice of Camille. In a sort of introduction, Camille summarizes her life and the why of her choice. The rest is the countdown between the date of her death with the management of the situation, the declaration for theparents and their reactions, her accompaniment with the medical team, and also more.
I like to read real stories, or those that could have been. I think it’s because the world is so complex, so rich, so diverse, so tragic and so beautiful, that its own stories enchant me enough. I can’t get out of the story, detach myself from the characters. I live through the characters and their emotions. When the night becomes day is a fictive story, and yet it has taken me to the guts like an autobiographical novel. It’s a short story but really touching with a tormented character that is sometimes difficult to understand. But really a great story. The issue of euthanasia is addressed in an interesting way.