Told with startling, unapologetic honesty and in a haunting, minimalist style, Lightness is the story of a woman's profound sense of alienation, beginning with her own physical body and its desires. In this original and moving take on anorexia, we go deep into the mind of the narrator as she carries out her secret, prolonged hunger strike against the constraints of her life. The original French version of Lightness (Déterrer les os) won the Best First Novel Prize at the Biennale littéraire des Cèdres in 2018 and was adapted for stage at the Centre du Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui in Montreal.
Fanie Demeule is finishing a doctorate at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where she is lecturer in the Département d’études littéraires. The original French version of Lightness (Déterrer les os) won Best First Novel at the Biennale littéraire des Cèdres in 2018 and has been adapted for the. Her second novel, Roux clair naturel, was published in 2019 to much acclaim. Lightness is the first time her work is appearing in English. She lives in Montreal.
My mother goes away and leaves me in my godmother's capable hands. What my godmother doesn't know is that my world revolves around excess. Whenever it's time to wean me, I throw a tantrum. My mother had let her know that I love grapefruit. So she arrives with a whole case. At snack time, she brings me to the table and slices a nice, juicy, pink one. The aroma of paradise splashes my face and wakes up the monster in me. I begin to choke on my saliva. She brings the first piece to my mouth, and the momentum is unleashed. The pulp of this grapefruit is so perfectly and deliciously sweet that I need more, many more, so I can have this taste on my tongue forever. I eat a grapefruit, then, from somewhere deep and guttural inside me, demand another. More, I order her. My godmother cuts up another grapefruit and I immediately devour it. Grunting, I ask for more. I suck up the juice until the fruit is nothing more than an empty, dry piece of rind. After the sixth one, she calls my mother. "Your daughter's eaten a lot of grapefruit. She's already had six and she wants another one. Should I give it to her?" "No. She could go on forever. " She's right. Whenever I'm told that something has to stop, a part of me breaks down a little more.