Le train de la réalité is a collection of uchronic short stories taking place in the world of Rêves de Gloire. Let's make it clear that it isn't necessary to have read the novel to appreciate the collection, even if that could give it a particular flavour. What do we find inside this strange cover? Six short stories (+1) of varying lengths, larded with brief accounts of the assassination of the General (The General, don't you see, the one and only). Told in the first person (except for one and with reason), they constitute as many windows on the uchronic world of Rêves de Gloire. Equipped with several points of divergence, this world deviates wildly from our own from the political or geopolitical (or musical) angles. On the other hand it is quite similar socially, in the way that societies are like enormous ocean liners with phenomenal inertia. Visit this world which is unfamiliar yet just like our own.
Between the short stories there are numerous versions of the assassination of the General. Legends, speeches, parallel worlds; everything is possible. The combination of these versions will thrill any conspiracy theorist.
I find echoes of Rêves de Gloire in Train. The same qualities: a multiplicity of points of view, an adaptation of style to a point of view (up to the most zany), great finesse in the succinctly written political analyses.
Gromovar, Quoi de neuf sur ma pile?
And... finished! I've read Rêves de Gloire.
And yes, I can confirm it's a bastard of a book. Of those that deserve our concentration and time, a book to curl up with and laze in the sun. We have to read it again, such are the multiple levels of interest, and it makes its demands on us even when we have read the last page. Rêves de Gloire is a conundrum where numerous voices intermix from different times, creating forty years of fictional and extremely lively stories. Stories about obsessions, e.g. the LP collector, looking for a single containing the Holy Grail, or the Vautriens, utopians who experience disillusion, and freedom for and against everything. Music holds such a place here that you almost regret the absence of a soundtrack of the book.
Moreover this continues with Le train de la realité, which I started to read directly after (and I advise you to do this if you happen to have both books). The uchronic plotlines are a bit more mixed up, but the narrative voices flesh out the world to a greater extent. The utopias and the individual (or collective) quests are more sombre here, reunited around a leitmotiv: so who really did kill the General? It doesn't really matter in the end. From the point of view of History, the only true event is his death.
The main impression that remains from reading it is however slight nausea, tinted with hope, nausea about the world about us, of which there are echoes in both books. Optimism also remains: for and against everything, there will always be someone to create and a public to enjoy.
In short, a novel that turns out to be as fascinating as its predecessor. Allan, Fantastinet