On The Old And The New

French writer Jean-Christophe Grangé has captured our hearts with books like The Flight of the Storks, Blood-Red Rivers, The Stone Council, Black Blood and The Forest of the Dead Souls

He was in Istanbul recently for the 29th TÜYAP Book Fair and met with his readers at the French Culture Center to talk about the old and the new.

The reader can guess the ending of ‘The Forest of the Dead Souls’. Why did you give so many clues?
It was not something I did by choice or on purpose. I think the reader is gradually taken into the story and can easily figure it out.

What about the novel you are working on at the moment?
The story takes place in France. I want to finish it before the new year, but I can’t give you the title.
Psychology, medicine, law… Are they all special areas of interest, or are you an expert on every field after your years as a journalist?
I worked in journalism for ten years and reported on criminal cases during that time. The crimes I covered were not that interesting, but journalism gave me a serious grounding that became the point of departure for my novels. A habit of looking at events in detail and from different angles that adds credibility to my fiction.

Do you still follow the papers?
I read Le Monde every day, and sometimes I come across news items that overlap with the subjects I covered.

Why is the past important?
That’s what distinguishes detective novels: they start with a crime and work back to the past, investigating the reasons for the crime until they come back again to our day. In fact, it is not just novels but life itself that comes to us molded by the past. The past is a threshold for all of us.

Your novels take place in different geographies. Do you live in the countries you describe?
In general I write about places I know, but if I am going to describe a place I don’t know I always go there first.