Sa Préférée is a novel about intra-family violence, about emancipation and the price people pay to achieve it. It is the story of a deeply wounded woman who struggles with her past and refuses to be a victim.
"Suddenly, he was holding a gun. I swear, just seconds ago, we were eating potatoes. Almost in silence. My sister was chattering. As usual. My father said, ‘Can’t the kid she just shut it,' but she continued her babbling. She was naïve, cheerful, a little foolish, funny and kind. (...) She didn’t notice when my father's breathing changed, when his look forewarned that we were in for a storm."
Jeanne, the narrator, who grew up in the Valais mountains in the early 70s, learned very early on to dodge and then to stand up to her father’s brutality and violence, while her mother and sister resigned themselves to it. The silence and cowardice of the neighbors and their entourage pushes her to leave and settle far away from her family and her village, but she can’t stop going back, pulled by her love for her mother and her guilt for not having been able to protect her.
Violence against women: Sarah Jollien-Fardel who also grew up at the same time in the canton of Valais, knows it well. She has wanted to write about it for a long time and has done so with a feverish writing style in this impressive debut novel. "For me it was important to write with guts, almost in a trance, I saw this story like a film, and I describe what I see. I thought in pictures," she explains.
"The strength and power as well as the finesse of the text in this novel touched us deeply. The heroine's determination to live, instead of getting caught up in being a victim, can be felt through the writing, it also drew us in," explain Sabine Wespieser, editor and Hannah Balme, foreign rights representative.
It became a craze for booksellers and readers. Sa Préférée has received numerous awards including the Choix Goncourt de la Suisse, the Prix du roman FNAC, as well as the first Goncourt des Détenus, a prize that funds a meet up between prisoners in France and authors to read and debate contemporary literary works.
Rights have been sold in six countries to date. A German edition was published by Aufbau last February and Italian, Chinese, Croatian, English and Greek versions will soon be released.