The writing, simple yet superb, provides us with truly heavenly moments like the "dance of the weirdoes" on page 83 or the whole of chapter 24, which is a stylistic achievement. Finally page 13, which states the responsibilities of a writer, is worthy of any writing workshop. It is a question of time, remorse, possible resolution and a wish. Only one - a difficult choice, and all the more precious. A beautiful novel, highly recommended reading.

If it is not innovatory in the theme of time travel, L'horloge du temps perdu has fun with one of the signature themes of the genre and a nice mise-en-abyme with the introduction to this novel that will guide Théo and is called L'horloge du temps perdu! Yet another idea out of so many in a novel which in fact deals with childhood lost and ruined friendships, both universal themes and nicely worked on here.

Although it is published in a young adult collection, L'horloge du temps perdu should enchant everyone, be it by a far more original storyline than is first apparent, its world or even its numerous references. Anne Fakhouri offers us a wonderfully successful fantasy fairytale, which is totally captivating from beginning to end.

Stegg, Psychovision

A way of finding out that parents, too, had to create themselves from their own childhood, which explains a lot of things that are impossible to understand otherwise. But changing the past means changing the future, for the book that Stan Iala writes to free himself from his memories gradually changes according to the changes brought about by Theo.

A pleasant variation on the father-son relationship constructed in the same way as the film Back to the Future, to which the author renders discreet homage, and the chance to learn that helping others, including our nearest and dearest, is still the best way of helping ourselves.

Hélène, Les Vagabonds du rêve



Interview with Anne Fakhouri:

After Narcogenèse and Le Clairvoyage, Anne Fakhouri is back with an enchanting young adult novel: L'horloge du temps perdu. For this occasion she has agreed to answer our questions.

Hi! First of all, thanks a lot for granting Psychovision an interview! Thank you! To begin with can you talk about your life up to now and tell your readers a bit more about yourself?

I had my first young adult novel, Le Clairvoyage, published in 2008. I had always written but that was the first manuscript I had ever sent off. I was very fortunate to be awarded the Grand Prix de L'Imaginaire Prize, for that and its sequel, La Brume des Jours. I took a detour into adult fantasy thriller, with Narcogenèse.  My latest novel, L'Horloge du Temps Perdu, is aimed at young adults, although many adults have written to me since it came out two weeks ago. I'm no longer surprised.  Le Clairvoyage was read by adults as well as teenagers. I like the idea that my novels have no barriers, especially those of age! My next book, Hantés, an esoteric thriller, published by Rageot, is coming out in August.  I'm a part-time French teacher, a part-time writer, and what time is left is devoted to reading, my husband, children and friends.

You have been the editor of several anthologies for ActuSF, is that something that has helped you in your writing? Or is it completely different?

Editorial work is very different but the fact of distancing oneself from the narrative obviously allows you to understand the mechanics.

You have written four novels, three for young adults; is there a difference between writing for teenagers and adults? Any particular difficulties?

For my novels published by L'Atalante, not in the themes or the questions tackled. Narcogenèse is a truly adult novel, since it deals with the subject of maternity. If it had been meant for teenagers (and I saw no point in that), I would not have just dealt with maternity; I would have also talked about sexuality. Which I don't really intend to do for a young adult readership; I don't follow the current trend that uses the credo that hard selling is more important than information.

Incidentally there were teenagers in Narcogenèse, are you attracted by this type of character? Have you got more to say about them than about adults?

There are also adults in my books, often incompetent, by the way. Adolescence is a particularly interesting period because it's the basis of adult life: you can see in our schools the embryo of our society, everyone works out their place. If I had to talk about adults I would be a lot tougher. Most of the time, we are concerned about the education of children. We should be concerned with the education of adults. Those that I see are incapable of following the grand principles they expound. Teenagers have an ability to challenge things that we have frequently lost. Moreover I think I have always brought to life the child and the teenager that I was. I owe that to them, I've already betrayed them. We have a very strict contract, them and me.

So, was going from the world of Narcogenèse to that of L'Horloge du temps perdu difficult? Aren't they completely different in atmosphere?

I'm lucky in being monomaniac in my themes but not in my ambiance. If you look closely, you'll see a progression in my novels: the responsibility of teenagers and their place in the world in Le Clairvoyage, maternity in Narcogenèse and finally transmission in L'Horloge du temps perdu. I have used the same theme in Hantés, my next book, to be published by Rageot. I like a lot of things, especially in literature; I have no problem in moving from one genre and one book to another. As a writer I do the same thing. I write with what I have and who I am. I would only get bored if I restricted myself to one type of mood.

In L'Horloge du temps perdu you tackle the subject of Time Travel which has been used so many times before, is that a problem? How can you bring new light on the subject?

I don't write to be innovatory. I write to give my view of the world. I decided to use references well-known to everyone, those of Back to the Future (I could also mention Peggy Sue Got Married or the series Quantum Leap). I'm not an SF reader and so I have the basic screen-oriented culture of the people of my generation. And what interests me is talking to them, not only fans of the genre. In L'horloge du temps perdu I wanted to show how and why you become an absent parent, not only through your education but also through what you have chosen. And how a child of this kind of parent has to understand what has or has not been passed on to him. Time travel was the ideal way to tell this story.

How do you go about describing the 80s? Do you dig deep down in your memories or do you do some research? Did you, like Stan Iala, delve into your own childhood?

I searched through my memory. I listened to the worst playlist in the history of music to get the right atmosphere. I asked my family and friends and found memories I had forgotten all about. The social and political context was useless. I needed details: audio-cassettes that you rewound with a biro, dial telephones, the top 50...

Does sending a teenager of today back to the 80's show you what we have gained and what we have lost? Do you have a touch of nostalgia for those years?

Yes and no. Exploring those years gave me the chance to understand what we have become. Growing up I noticed that the oddballs in the school, those we couldn't care less about, the eggheads, the kids who were different had practically all turned into decent well-adjusted people. On the contrary, the most beautiful girl in the school had often become some high-ranking official's wife, staying at home to look after the house, and - a well-known cliché - the school bully had messed up his life. Those who were treated badly often have a softness and understanding of the world that I recognise and like. I wanted to celebrate them.

Although the novel has been published in a young adult collection, it seems to deal with the theme of lost childhood and includes some rather difficult situations. Is this a way of talking to young readers about what lies ahead of them? Telling them that life isn't always easy?

I'm not sure that today's kids experience an easy life, no more than we did. In L'Horloge des temps Perdu, there are absent parents or who get divorced, intrusive parents, the difficulty of living with others in a community. Are teenagers protected from all that? Not the ones I see in my classroom. Most of their anxieties come from their relationships with others. I don't say anything to them: it's their reality, as it was ours. The difficult situations are those experienced by my trio, my so out of step Weirdoes: Little Pom and her psychoanalyst mother, Arthur and his apparently perfect family, and especially Alex/Theo and their violently severe mother together with their inability to understand school codes of behaviour. The remarks on adult life are on the other hand positive: by replacing their imperfect families with a family of friends, true friends, they can survive.

At one moment in the book, during the interview with an author, you speak of the Ideal Reader; do you think this person really exists? Someone that you might still be looking for?

I loved putting these words into the mouth of my fictional author, Stan Iala. I think this is where the pact of reading lies: I like authors who convey true music, beyond words, and whose discourse I understand beyond the work. This resonance is rare. I have already come across readers who have understood exactly what I meant and have even managed to clear up some points I found obscure.  They are precious. I like this exchange and I am willing to go out of my way to find it. If I avoid writing "only stories", I do it for those particular readers. I like the idea of an echo. If not, what's the point of writing?

What are your projects?

I have started a four-handed urban fantasy novel. Incidentally, I have nearly completed a young adult novel - not fantasy but general literature - on a subject close to my heart: literary transmission. After that, I'll see. I have another urban fantasy project up my sleeve, collections of short stories that I must write. I'm never short of projects. The need to write is more random: I never know which one is going to come out first.

Thank you for being so ready to answer questions for Psychovision. I'll let you have the last word:

Happy reading!


Published at March 17, 2014