Renata without further ado
by Catherine Guérard

“Money, they only know how to think about money, you bunch of dullards, fools who don’t like freedom or birds.” A woman, a domestic worker, leaves the house where she works as an intern in anger. She wants to be free, forget about the chains and live her life without wasting it working for others. For three days and three nights she wanders the streets of Paris dragging all her belongings and facing a world that rejects her again and again. How can we oppose the alienation that is imposed on us without appearing insane in the eyes of others? Published for the first time in 1967, Renata without further ado is an unclassifiable and astonishing story that raises a necessary reflection on the absurdity of our society, laws, consumption, money and work. Written in the form of an interior monologue, this hidden treasure of French-language literature, Mémorable Prize 2022, is a unique and astonishing book, a hymn to freedom that remains rabidly modern and that vindicates radical thought.

Catherine Guérard published two novels, Ces princes (1955) and Renata sin mas (1967), which almost won the Prix Goncourt. And then she disappeared. It took the reissue of this book for the public and critics to rediscover with astonishment an author unjustly forgotten. We now know that she was born in 1929 and died on 14 July 2010. That the François to whom Renata sin mas is dedicated is François Mitterrand and that she had an affair with Paul Guimard, from which some beautiful letters are still preserved. What will probably never be known is why, after writing two masterpieces, she moved away from the limelight and stopped publishing.


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