Delphine de Vigan’s No et moi is a Coming of Age narrative which textually re-enacts the marginalisation of the homeless No as her voice is appropriated into the first-person narrative of the precocious middle-class thirteen-year-old Lou who persuades her parents to offer No hospitality. I argue that the marginalisation of issues about social exclusion is systematically reinforced by the school system. Despite featuring on literature syllabuses for both the baccalauréat in France and ‘A’ Level in the UK, the text highlights a lack of pupil engagement with the school programme and challenges the privileging of abstract knowledge over self-development and engagement with contemporary social issues. I argue the text makes a contribution to Disability Studies and is representative of Alexandre Gefen’s therapeutic turn in 21st-century French literature whereby empathy and care for others can help us overcome our own disabilities and challenges, in this case what presents as autism.
- Medical Humanities
- coming of age fiction