“I’mI’m afraid of my own tracks, what they say and will say about me. “ Try to imagine yourself one day waking up to the news that all your emails and messages from the past ten years have been hacked and are now found all over the Internet. This is what happens to Gaspard, a young employee of a Parisian consulting company, narrator and main character of the Intrusion. One of the subjects addressed by Quentin Lafay in this second novel is the growing grip of technology on our private lives. The author feeds on his own story when in May 2017, then ex-adviser to the current president, he was one of the collateral victims of the MacronLeaks.

From this episode, he does not draw strictly speaking a testimony, but uses fiction to deliver us a text where the individual and the private find themselves caught in the grip between political issues that go beyond them. Over the pages, we are witnessing the progressive dismantling of Gaspard’s life. First victim of anonymous attacks on social networks where conversation fragments are taken up, mocked or distorted. A series of uprooted words that are “So many potential misunderstandings, misunderstandings in the making”. But the damage crystallizes especially when its close circle discovers them. These are the most innocuous things that betray: a sentence spoken in a mocking tone, a confession to the wrong person, hurtful words against someone.

The full and unedited publication of correspondence exposes the individual in all its contradiction and duplicity. It is the very concept of identity that is attacked here, denying that it is under construction and constantly evolving. Following this violation of his privacy, the narrator becomes obsessed with all these traces that he leaves behind, endeavoring to erase them progressively, lest they become public one day. A resolutely contagious paranoia, especially in this period, when many of our social interactions go through technology.

Charlotte Juhen Project coordinator

Quentin Lafay The intrusion Gallimard, 122 pp., € 14 (ebook: € 9.99).

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