“Capsize” by Lola Lafon: magic on stage and backstage pain

Award-winning writer, talented musician, trained dancer, the French Lola Lafon is in the running for several prestigious literary prizes this fall, with Capsize, his new novel. The story of Cléo, a girl who turned 13 in 1984, tells of a dream of a career in dance … and behind the scenes, much heavier and suffering.

After a dance class, Cléo is approached by an elegant woman who offers to apply for a scholarship. Granted by a certain Galatée Foundation, this cash flow would allow him to realize his dream and make a career in modern jazz.

But behind the Galatea Foundation lie unscrupulous people who have many other goals for them. A sex trap closes on Cléo who, without knowing it, draws other young girls into it.


Lola Lafon, in an interview, explains that she wanted to first paint a portrait of a woman, and observe her in all her encounters. She also wanted to go back to the 1990s, in a social and political way. She also wanted to look at the notion of “guilty victim”.

“I have a slight worry that now there is some sort of room for victims … but not all of them. That is to say, you still have to be an exemplary victim. Maybe my spirit of contradiction made me want to make way for someone who can’t even see themselves as a victim. “

Lola Lafon recalls that her first novel already spoke of rape. “I didn’t really wait for #MeToo to talk about it. It’s been 17 years since I wrote my first novel, and that was the subject. At the same time, I found it great, this movement, and what worried me, I said to myself, how are those who have a complicated history going to speak? Of those who had drunk too much? Of those who were naked in someone’s bed and then said no? All the complicated real life stories. I really worry about the hierarchies of victims. “

Lola Lafon explains that she is also interested in how speech occurs in life. “I think there was also an urge to work on the passage of time and the time it takes to understand that an event has happened.”

The writer, who is also a singer and who made a career in the dance world in her twenties, was marked by the 1990s. “I was a teenager in the late 1980s, but the 1990s were really important to me because they were my political awakening. This is where I really started to get involved and understand. “

The world of dance

Lola Lafon knows very well the world of dance, in which Cléo evolves. “It was my first job. So I was in the dance world until I was 20-24 years old. But on the other hand, I did not know at all the world of modern jazz and even less that of reviews. So, I was helped by former Redha ballet dancers and young magazine dancers who really helped me. They were great for showing me the details behind the scenes, the dressers. I really had a passion for entertainment. ”

Lola Lafon imagined the Galatée Foundation and there are no news items from which she was inspired that resemble what she describes. “I just thought, when I wrote it, that the most terrible trap would be a foundation that gave out scholarships to everyone. And who doesn’t want to be elected for their project? ”

♦ Writer, Lola Lafon is the author of The Little Communist who never smiled, awarded numerous prizes, and Mercy, Mary, Patty.

Capsize is in the running for numerous literary prizes – he is notably a finalist in the second round of the Prix Fémina, in the French Novels category.

♦ Lola Lafon is also a musician and has two albums to her credit.


Glitter arose from what was held to be negligible: it had the beauty of uncertainty. Cléo was sometimes argued that all this was junk, like the rhinestone necklaces resting on her plexus, those ruby ​​beads that surrounded her waist.

It was all wrong, therein lay the disturbing beauty of this world, she retorted. The girls pretended to be naked, they were overjoyed on stage for ninety minutes, that’s Paris, they came from Ukraine, Spain or Clermont-Ferrand. “

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