Alain Finkielkraut speaks with Claudie Hunzingerauthor of
A dog at my table And Cedric Sapin-Defourwhich makes it appear
Its smell after the rain : two writers who tell us about the intense bond they maintained with their dog. Love for the human being who shares their life also has its place, and these two texts are both an enchantment.
“Ubac, that’s his name (the search for the right name is an adventure in itself), is not the central character of this book, Cédric Sapin-Defour, his master, even less. does not want to be considered a master. The hero is their bond. This bond, unique, obvious and, for those who have explored it, surpasses so many other relationships. This bond, illegible and useless for those to whom the company of dogs evokes nothing.
Its smell after the rainCédric Sapin-Defour, (ed. Stock)
“One evening, a young dog, dragging a dirty story with her broken chain, appears at the door of an old couple: Sophie, novelist, who loves nature and walks in the forest and her companion Grieg, already out of the world, sleeping by day and reading by night, surviving on literature.”
A dog at my table, Claudie Hunzinger (ed. Grasset).
“I read Claudie Hunzinger’s book with wonder, A dog at my table, and that of Cédric Sapin-Defour, Its smell after the rain. I learned there, in fact, that dogs, these domestic animals, had something to teach us, and that it is useful if not salutary, to take a side step with them.” Alain Finkielkraut
Who is the dog in “A dog at my table”?
“Before coming to Yes, the character of A dog at my table, it seems to me that first of all I have to go back much further upstream, to my four years old, to my five years old, when, at that age, I was a little dog. I was first a little dog before being a little girl. And this little dog that I was was at odds with my family, he was roughed up, sometimes beaten up, he stuck out his tongue at school, and he bit his little friends. I think I learned that way of leaving the human group, from a little dog that was in the family, but that I don’t remember.” Claudie Hunzinger
“I remember that as a child, access to adulthood was in particular the possibility of choosing this company” (C. Sapin-Defour)
“We could have talked about dogs, we could even have talked about the animal and here we are starting this discussion by talking about Ubac who was – since he is dead – a living being, very much alive, an individual endowed with a deep psychic life, of an interiority. It was the herding dog of all the dogs that I had been able to meet in my life, which had never been mine, it was always a question of other people’s dogs, the family dogs, friends, passing dogs. I remember that as a child, for me the definition of access to adulthood was in particular the possibility of choosing this company.” Cedric Sapin-Defour
give a name
“Yes: this name came to me immediately when this little dog arrived. I called her yes, because she was in bad shape, ‘she was asking for help, she was on her back, she had revealed that she was a female, so this Yes can be taken in different ways. It is the Yes of the narrator, “I answer you yes, YES, I take you, yes, we will make friends”. then, it is also the feminine Yes to life, the inaugural Yes.” Claudie Hunzinger
“It’s quite dizzying to give a name. You have to put a bit of yourself, a bit of your expectations, a bit of your fears, I didn’t have a spontaneous reaction, I didn’t have a Yes who came to me, I searched a lot, I crossed out a lot, I waited, it was a long journey. Cedric Sapin-Defour
“I have a personal story which is very much linked to the mountains; to the practice of the mountains but also to the fact of experiencing the mountains, and this slope which is sheltered from the sun, which for me is called the the reverse, the reverse, which is also called Ubac, and I found, when I shared my life with Ubac, that it was a name that suited it marvelously well, because it is a slope where you hide , where we observe the world without being seen, but where we do not refuse the clarity of the world, they are right there. Cedric Sapin-Defour
“Dogs are great humanists. They may be the last humanists.” (C.Hunzinger)
“The life of this little dog suddenly turned life upside down; she set life in motion, she pulled the narrator out, she pulled her out, she taught her to walk again. and yes, you would think that it happens only there with this dog, but it didn’t happen only there with this dog, because I happen to be a writer, and there is always something at play between the dog who is there and the human being who is there and who has his job. Dogs are great humanists. They are perhaps the last humanists.” Claudie Hunzinger
“Sometimes it doesn’t take much to see the world differently. Just sit on the ground and all of a sudden the earth turns differently, the beings we meet take on new perspectives, even the air I have spent a lifetime on the ground, with great blows of friction, of percussion on the ground, but when I try to define what I miss the most today about this joyful company, this humanist company, this silent company with Ubac is to be on my feet again. I loved being put on the ground”. Cedric Sapin-Defour
The entire program can be listened to by clicking on the page.
A dog at my table Ed Grasset
Its smell after the rain ed. Stock
Flush ed. The sound of time
Gilbert Keith Chesterton,
Orthodoxy ed. flammarion
The invisible wall ed. South Acts
The Unbearable Lightness of Being ed. Gallimard