The author’s writing style is poetic and certainly dark, but with quite a robust power of description. I really liked the thoughts (his memories) that the narrator unravels. At the start, they are naïve, faltering and hesitant – like a Golem – then gradually through the course of events, they become assured, precise and clear. (All the same, in spite of a certain anxiety and resignation?)
Malboire, despite its cruelty and sombre tone, “awakens” our responsibility towards water. Let’s not waste it. The time is over to be resigned, now we have to change our mind-set.
In conclusion, an optimistic or pessimistic story? We, the Humans have to make the right choice...
Lecteurs.com, Catherine Quart Foisset, 15 November 2018
If you really enjoy the post-apocalyptic genre, Malboire (L’Atalante), by French author Camille Leboulanger, is an archetypal model. It casts us into an archaic future where the world of technology is a distant memory, almost a legend. Basing his narrative around the scarcity of water, which has become a resource more coveted than gold or oil, the author reminds us that something so obviously banal in our eyes, is really essential and infinitely precious. With scintillating literary style, Camille Leboulanger regularly uses images and poetic metaphors to describe the fundamental link between humanity and nature. “Malboire” can be defined as oneiric science fiction, starkly black but not to the point of totally disregarding hope.
Huffingtonpost, Marcus Dupont-Besnard, 27 September 2018
Very quickly, Malboire becomes a story of cruel apprenticeship in a toxic world where Water takes a capital letter because of its vital importance. From the very first moment, Camille Leboulanger concentrates his attention on this liquid element and what it represents for our society. He imagines a world where water is worth far more than all the precious metals put together. A burning issue of our times.
Malboire, is also primarily all this: faith, hope and determination. Arsen’s faith in human nature and his machines, Mivoix’s faith in Zizare, the faith of the Planches à Mort in their apocalypse, the Batras’ faith in their paradise. Humans definitively remain possessors of beliefs, beliefs that they reinvent even in the mud, even having nothing. At the centre of Malboire, self-destructive humanity is also being judged. It is selfish and foolish, blind to its own stupidity. If Camille Leboulanger’s world seems to be of infinite blackness, it’s to bring to the forefront more hopefulness and sharing, so we understand that all we need to do is to start thinking to avoid the horror. From the top of our own dam, shouldn’t we be realising that we are already depriving Those in the Mud of a better life, a decent life? If this message proves to be a powerful one, it’s thanks to the French author’s supremely poetic and elegant way with words, that transforms a post- apocalyptic story into a poignant tale about our need to love, believe and fight.
Juste un mot, Nicolas Winter
Camille Leboulanger’s Malboire is a hymn on the fight to save the planet from catastrophe. [...]
Not only is the story committed, but it is beautifully written with a pleasingly gentle rhythm. My first impressions of Camille Leboulanger are totally positive.
Un bouquin sinon rien, Maxime, 30 September 2018
This novel is very unsettling, yet full of hope... And the book is brimming with poetry. Camille Leboulanger has a rare and beautiful writing style. The phrases are sharp, every word clearly finding its place and meaning.
At the beginning of the story, Zizare, who as yet has no name, is wandering in the Malboire. It’s when Arsen gets him out of the mud that he starts learning words and placing them in the context of his present and past life. [...]
The more he progresses in his story, the richer his vocabulary becomes. Each new discovery on his road trip generates the discovery or the creation of new words. Moreover a certain number of neologisms make their appearance in the story, for Zizare finds himself facing elements and concepts that are unknown to him. And to understand and assimilate these new things, he has to name them.
The writer gives us a wakeup call and also a poetically ecological and hopeful fable, in spite of human error. A quest for water, life and renewal through words. The language and understanding of the world that surrounds us will be our saving grace. As long as we don’t understand, or we don’t admit to the urgency of the situation, one day we risk finding ourselves or our descendants faced with Malboire.
This novel is my favourite for several reasons, the first being Camille Le Boulanger’s amazing gift for writing and his love for words, which sparkle from the narrative. The second is that this story gives us a chance to open our eyes, and to avoid perhaps, if it’s not too late, the ecological catastrophe hurtling towards us.
Les lectures de Sophie, 4 October 2018