Bintel Blog

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Lévy Scorned: novelist Justine Lévy’s Latest Screed.

By Benjamin Ivry

  • Print
  • Share Share

Justine Lévy, daughter of the headline-grabbing French philosopher and “public intellectual” Bernard-Henri Lévy (known in France as BHL), is once again in the news with a new novel from Paris’ Stock publishers, “Mauvaise fille” (Bad Daughter ).

Like her previous books, “Mauvaise fille” is not really a “roman à clef” because no “clef” (key) is required to figure out who are the real-life characters being described. The expected fictional veneer is less than paper thin. “Mauvaise fille” recounts Lévy’s troubled relationship with her mother, a former model and drug abuser Isabelle Doutreluigne, who died of cancer four years ago. After a low-key 1995 novel “Le Rendez-vous” (The Rendezvous) analyzing her parents’ bumpy marriage, which was unevenly translated into English by Lydia Davis for Scribner, Lévy won widespread media attention with her second novel, “Rien de Grave” (published as “Nothing Serious” by Melville House.

“Nothing Serious” describes how the Italian model and aspiring singer Carla Bruni, now married to France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy, had an affair with Lévy’s father-in-law Jean-Paul Enthoven, a French-Jewish journalist. As that ended, Bruni’s affections transferred to her lover’s son, Lévy’s then-husband Raphaël Enthoven, a philosophy professor and radio personality. “Nothing Serious” calls Bruni “The Terminator” and claims that Bruni’s face was constructed by computer in a plastic surgeon’s office, among other, even less complimentary, remarks.

Unfazed, Bruni composed and performed a song, “Raphaël” in praise of her new lover, inspiring a stream of parodies not just in France but across Europe.

Self-serious as ever, Lévy offers no comparable juicy scandals in “Mauvaise fille,” which nevertheless doggedly tries to blame her mother, instead of Bruni this time, for why, despite being rich, famous, and beautiful, Lévy should nevertheless feel depressed. Speaking of her Mother, Lévy writes: “That’s that, she’s dead. I should feel relieved, but I am not relieved.” Should we be?

Watch Justine Lévy offer local French TV a “good reason for reading” (she has, apparently, yet to be asked to offer a good reason for writing).

Watch a November 18 Justine Lévy public appearance at the FNAC Montparnasse, Paris, below.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: BHL, Justine Levy

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.