Interview Catherine Dufour ENTENDS LA NUIT

Interview : Catherine Dufour is back!

Nine years! Did it really take you nine years to get back to science fiction with Entends la nuit? Why all these literary detours? What were the benefits?

Goodness, nine years! No, I don’t think it’s a question of getting back to it. In the first place Entends la nuit has nothing to do with what I was writing in science fiction before. It’s pure fantasy.

Also I’ve been publishing short stories, mostly science fiction, for all these years – they’re coming out in a collection soon. It’s much more than a literary detour. Let’s say that in the early twenty tens I met some very cool people at Fayard and I stayed there. I’m still working with them actually.

A young woman brimming with desire, a darkly enigmatic man, as dangerous as you can get, bloodthirsty monsters out to have fun… are you thinking of setting up in competition with Twilight and the rest?

That’s it.

Is love possible between a hard-up young girl and a rich young man? Of course not! Wealth has nothing to do with individuals.

It’s a caste system full of piranhas.

At the beginning, Entends la nuit is alarming because of the crushing and completely controlling nature of its world of work. Have you ever experienced this or is it a total personalisation?

I think this is the world of work, no more, no less. Seen on the right side of the fence, actually: these young people have contracts, their own offices, heating, a canteen, paid holidays – all sorts of perks you can’t get so easily now.

The Vane character is a lemur and not a vampire. Can you tell us a little more about these creatures and how you got the idea of using them in your novel?

I’ve read a lot of work by story tellers like Seignolle, Lecouteux or Van Gennep. Behind all the goblins, elves, trolls, witches and other vampires, it’s always the same people that come up: ancestors. The dead. Not those that return: those who have never left. Dis manibus sacrum locus - dedicated to the memory of the spirits of the gods in this place. I wanted to describe the common denominator of all our fears.

On her side, Myriam is a young woman with a particularly caustic sense of humour… which doesn’t prevent her from drooling with love for Vane. Is something dangerous inevitably more attractive? At what point does the death impulse become more important than the passion?

If someone loves anybody in this novel, it has to be Vane. Myriam is moved by curiosity, mainly, and by greed too – she drools but not exactly for love. I don’t think she has even a moment to love Vane. As to knowing if the life of a hard-up employee is more tedious than dealing with a pile of dosh, I wouldn’t like to say. What’s appealing about danger is the fact that it drives out boredom, and boredom can be deadly.

Let’s say that Myriam has no room for manoeuvre.

Another major character in your novel is Paris. The City of Light is not just a backdrop for Entends la nuit, is it? Is it also a monster in its own way?

Good call. It’s the character I like the most in this novel.

I love this city, with its roofs, its catacombs and its haunted corners. At the Palais Royal, I love following the eyes of the ghosts of the red-hatted women revolutionaries, the silhouette of Proust in the Tuileries Gardens – also the monks digging in the Luxembourg Gardens, at the time it was still called Vauvert. There’s little Musset reading under a tree, Hugo getting his milk from a farm in Mont Parnasse, Chateaubriant hiding his lovers in a country house at Port Royal, Hemingway watching the herds of goats gambolling on the Boulevard Saint Michel – I never get tired of it…

Will there be a sequel to Entends la nuit in the next nine years?

That’s what’s good about dead people: you can be with them for years!

Do you have any projects on at the moment?


Actually there’s a biography of a female pioneer in IT, a book on the Bataclan, a collection of short stories. Well, I’ll never get bored!

And to conclude, if you could choose a handsome dark stranger in literature to run in the catacombs with, who would it be?

A guy with a map and a good head lamp!

Nicolas Winter, 15 October 2018

Published at April 18, 2019