mardi 14 octobre 2008

"Dissolution" de C. J. Sansom

Pendant les vacances, j'ai toujours tendance à me faire piéger. Je suis trop gentille, malléable, ramollie par le rythme lent que prennent mes journées. Depuis longtemps, la petite librairie anglophone de notre lieu de vacances familiale (dans le Sud, vous l'avez compris) me faisait de l'oeil. Imaginez: une petite villelanguedocienne, touristique certes mais sans plus. Un département peu peuplé, pas forcément connu (jusqu'à peu) pour son attitude "hype" et "trendy". Quelques Anglais qui y ont élu domicile et donnent un petit vent de culture, d'exotisme par des peintures et le dit "English Bookshop".

Quand j'ai passé la porte, courant août, les rues étaient vides et tout le monde à la sieste ou les pieds dans l'eau de la rivière. Et moi j'avais un grand désir de lecture anglophone (sans doute la rencontre avec Kate n'est-elle pas étrangère à cette soudaine envie) avec un seul impératif: un roman policier. La libraire m'a proposé "Dissolution" de Christopher J. Sansom. J'ai dit "banco!".

L'intrigue est prenante, bien ficelée. Les personnages sont attachants. Mais le plus intéressant est le contexte.

Nous sommes en 1537. Pour le compte d’Henri VIII, Thomas Cromwell s'attaque à ceux qui refusent de reconnaître le roi comme chef de la nouvelle Eglise anglicane, et qui restent fidèles à l’autorité du Pape. Les commissaires du Roi parcourent les monastères pour prononcer leurs dissolutions et récupérer leurs biens. C’est dans ce contexte qu’un des commissaires royaux, Matthew Shardlake, est envoyé dans un monastère du Sussex pour enquêter sur la mort de l’un de ces collègues. Aidé de son disciple Mark, son enquête va se révéler plus complexe que prévue, et la vérité bien difficile à atteindre.

Tout semble limpide mais plus on avance dans le récit, et plus tout se trouble. Les protagonistes ne sont plus ceux qu'ils semblent être et les convictions de Matthew Shardlake vascillent, que ce soit concernant l'identité du tueur que concernant le bien fondé de la Réforme. Plus le roman avance et plus il m'a happée. Et quand j'ai refermée le livre, j'aurais voulu rester auprès des personnages. Il m'a fallu quelques jours avant de reprendre un autre récit. Preuve chez moi que je me suis laissée habiter par le récit. J'ai aussi eu envie de découvrir l'Histoire de le fondation de l'Angleterre moderne. Le Moyen-Âge reste la clé de l'Histoire et non la période obscure et obscurantiste qu'on imagine souvent.

Ce roman est disponible en version originale anglophone ou en version française.

I followed him down the hall, and sat on the table while he selected herbs and set water to heat on the fire. I eyed the Spanish cross on the opposite wall, and remembered the day before, seeing him lying prone before it.

"Did you bring that from your homeland?"

"Yes, it has followed me on all my travels". He measured some herbs from his stock into the water. "When this is ready take a little, not too much or you will want to sleep away the day". He paused. "I am grateful you trust me to prescribe for you."

"I must trust you as a physician, Brother Guy." I paused. "I think you were unhappy with what I said yesterday, regarding the funeral prayers".

He inclined his head. "I foloow your reasoning. You believe God is indifferent to forms of prayer."

"I belive slavation comes through God's grace. You do not agree? Come, let us forget my position for a minute and talk freely, as Christian scholars."

"Only as scholars? I have your word?"

"Yes, you do. God's bones, that mixture stinks."

"It needs to stew a little." He folded his arms. "I understand why the new ways have come to England. There has been muche corruption in the Church. But these matters could be dealt with by reform as has been done in Spain. Today thousands of Spanish friars are at work converting the heathens in the Americas, amidst terrible privations."

"I cannot imagine English friars in that setting."

"Nor can I. But Spain has shown reform is possible."

"And has its own Inquisition as a reward from the popoe."

"My fear is the English Church will not be reformed, but destroyed."

"What will be sestroyed, thought? What? The power of the papacy, the false doctrine of purgatory?"

"The king's Articles of Religion admit purgatory may exist."

"That is one reading. I believe purgatory is false. When we die salavation is by God's grace alone. The prayers of those left on earth do not matter a rush."

He shook his head. "But then, sir, how should a man strive to be saved?"

"By faith."

"And charity?"

"If one has faith, charity will follow."

"Martin Luther holds that salavation is not really by faith at all, God predetermines before a soul is even born whether it will be saved or damned. That seems a cruel doctrine."

"So Luther interpreted St Paul, yes. I, and many others, say he is wrong."

"But if every man is allowed his own interpretation of the Bible, will not people bring forth such cruel philosophies everywhere? Shall we not have a Babel, chaos?"

"God will guide us."

He stood and faced me, his eyes dark with - what? Sadness? Despair? Brother Guy was always a hard man to read.

"Then you would strip away all?"

I nodded. "Yes, I would. Tell me, Brother, do you believe like old Brother Paul that the world is drifting towards its end, the Day of Judgment?"

"That has been the central doctrine of the Church since time immemorial."

I leaned forward. "But must that be? May not the world be transformed, made as God willed it?"

Brother Guy clasped his hands before him. "The Catholic Church has often been the only light of civilization in this world. Its doctrine and rituals unite man in fellowship with suffering humanity and all the Christian dead. And they urge him to charity: Jesu knows he needs urging. But your doctrine tells each man to find his own individual salvation through prayer and the Bible. Charity and fellowship then are lost."


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3 commentaires:

Gracianne a dit…

Pas completement reposant comme roman policier ca. il y a matiere a reflexion.
L'histoire de la Grande-Bretagne est fascinante. Je me suis perdue l'autre fois dans les meandres de l'histoire des mouvements Jacobites sur Wikipedia - tortueux tout ca...

annax a dit…

So glad to see some english. I always visit, and feel quite silly that I can barely read it. When I so wish that I could.

Hope you and your loved ones are doing great!

Sending you joy!
You are very inspirational!

Aneth and Co a dit…

@ Gracianne: pas reposant mais passionnant et une très bonne intrigue. Il faut que je me trouve la suite (en français?)

@ Annax: thanks a lot for your kind words. I'm sure your kids will translate everything!