Author(s): Alexis Jenni
It was the beginning of the Gulf War. I watched it on TV and did little else. I was doing badly, you see. Everything was going wrong. I just awaited the end. But then I met Victorien Salagnon, a veteran of the great colonial wars of Indochina, Vietnam and Algeria, a commander who had led his soldiers across the globe, a man with the blood of others up to his elbows. He said he would teach me to paint; he must have been the only painter in the French Forces, but out there no one cares about such things. I cared, though. In return, he wanted me to write his life story. And so he talked, and I wrote, and through him I witnessed the rivers of blood that cut channels through France, I saw the deaths that were as numberless as they were senseless and I began finally to understand the French art of war.
A masterpiece -- Frederic Beigbeder Le Figaro A masterpiece Le Magazine litteraire Complex and profound... An adventure novel stuffed with people and stories Le Monde
Alexis Jenni is a French novelist and biology teacher. His debut novel, The French Art of War, won the 2011 Prix Goncourt. He lives in Lyon.