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Francois Syrou. “I am saddened by the arrogance of both activists and ministers.”

Back LeaveIn his latest book, the writer takes us on an adventure as in the contemplation of an inner exile.

Enarke, senior civil servant, private sector executive, then lawyer, legion and army reserve officer, defender of public liberties, academic. But above all, Francois Sirot is a traveller, from one country to another and from one book to another. He invites us to a kaleidoscope of adventurous destinies forgotten by all (Patrick Lee Fermor, Soma de Quiros…), alongside literary figures who decided to “go away” (Victor Hugo, Joseph Kessel, Pierre Loti, TE Lawrence, Somerset Maugham… ), also revisiting the troubles of Arsene Lupin.

Madame Figaro. – What is this impulse that consists in leaving?
Francois Syrou. – I realized quite late that we were going, because we were no longer there, where we were when we were going. Among many of those I speak of, there is a sense of strangeness. They do not seek a way out of this strangeness in the journey, they simply move it to better match their destiny, to become completely alien to the world. Literature for me has always been about travel, escape, deciphering the world…but I love it above all as a testament to the search, to the tension towards the unseen. My first readings were The Five Club, Arsene Lupine… Few books have given me as much emotion as discovering treasure Count of Monte Cristo it is literature for me.

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Where did you travel?
There are several categories of travel in my life. Central Europe, Sahara, India, Southeast Asia, from where I left like a backpack. United States, England, Ireland, for work. Hungary, which left its mark on me, was the end of the world at the time of the fall of the wall, I have always been sensitive to the transition of worlds. Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Mali, during military operations, when I was assigned to special operations (reconnaissance, negotiations, etc.). I rather feel at home anywhere, but I’m particularly sensitive to magical countries like Ireland and Scotland, these ghostly landscapes where the past mixes with the present.

Are you afraid of boredom?
Of course not. To do this, you need to show great interest in yourself. Some modern literature invades singularity: “me, me,” “what I experienced,” “what I thought,” I prefer what Giono calls “the song of the world.” Faced with its mystery, we are all the same. Literature is an unusually deep investigation into human nature.

Have tourists replaced adventurers?
You can always get off the beaten track and you don’t have to go to the ends of the earth. Some explorers were as stupid as some tourists. There are two things that sadden me today: the insolence of both activists and ministers, and the ease with which we accept that everyone is doing their own propaganda. It fills me with hope that I believe that good is stronger, more powerful, even if it is less visible than evil.

leave by François Sureau, Éditions Gallimard, 288 p., €21.
Press department

Source: Le Figaro

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