Novel. Death at Half-Mast is the first novel by Denis Emorine. For him, this novel is a watermark of his work. He presents his favorite themes, especially love and death which are brushing against each other, mingling, confronting each other until the end. First and foremost, this book is an hymn to passion in any form and fidelity because the main character, writer Dominique Valarcher, belongs to one woman only, Laetitia. As long as he lives with this superior, intelligent and attractive woman, death is suspended, set back , even if, for him, death is an obsession he can’t forget. Dominique is divided, sometimes excited and at other times, extremely sensitive. For him, important affective relations are with women because with her he feels like a privileged person. With each favorite lady friend, Dominique tries to find the sister he never had. The young women who like him consider him as a symbolic father. Of course, it’s not quite safe. Valarcher is from Russian ancestry on his grandmother’s side and Laetita often tells him: “Your Russian side frightens me.” Those contradictions are increasing his fragility as well as give him a particular inspiration. Meeting Nora Nemeth, a student, who is working on a master about his work, is a challenge for him. Could he overcome his weak character and especially his cowardice?
“A French contemporary writer, translated and published in many countries, Denis Emorine explores various literary genres: poetry, theatre, novels, short stories, essays. For him the process of writing is a privileged space for reflecting on personal identity and questioning that identity. The identity quest of his creation, as defined by the principal character of the novel Death at Half Mast, finds its roots in the ‘Slavic atavism’ of his Russian heritage. The obsessive identity motif of his poems and plays is repeated in this autobiographical novel. This is an auto fiction, although the novel is written in the third person, having a narrator that is extradiegetic to the author, an alter ego, Dominique Valarcher.” — Sonia Elvireanu
“Death at Half Mast by Denis Emorine is a novel of maturity, a profound, philosophical work by a writer—essentially a poet—who is not afraid to ask the uneasy questions about love, the passing of time, existence in general and ultimately about DEATH, the common destiny of all mortals. This is a courageous meditation of a man at the cross-roads of his life, facing difficult choices, both personal and professional, being aware of the fact that any one of his decisions will hurt the people he most love and forever alter his ways. Yet, he is willing to accept the consequences of his actions, the suffering and the incertitude of a most difficult future in the name of love and of the liberty of choice allowed universally to each of us. A must read, this novel will confront us with the vicissitudes and tribulations of our road to eternity.” — Flavia Cosma
About the Author
Denis Emorine is the author of short stories, essays, poetry, and plays. He was born in 1956 in Paris and studied literature at the Sorbonne (University of Paris). He has an affective relationship to English because his mother was an English teacher. His father was of Russian ancestry.
His works are translated into several languages. His theatrical output has been staged in France, Canada (Quebec) and Russia. Many of his books (stories, drama, poetry) have been published in Greece, Hungary, Romania, India, Japan, South Africa and the USA.
Writing, for Emorine, is a way of harnessing time in its incessant flight. Themes that re-occur throughout his writing include the Doppelgänger, lost or shattered identity, and mythical Venice (a place that truly fascinates him). He also has a great interest in Eastern Europe.