Photos by Leo Haddad.


By Géraldine Postel

For her first novel entitled “Toni Tout Court”, Shane Haddad plunges us intensely into a fiction which develops over a single symbolic moment : her 20th birthday. Toni has a tortured relationship to her body and to those around her, she repeats, rehashes, the film of many questions that we can finally dare asking openly.

Shane Haddad is a young French author; she is attractive by her maturity as much by what she describes. In her quick-witted style, Toni’s voice drives us in an interior monologue and a series of wounds, where she relates her relationship to her body, family, the others …  The first breakup, the strangers she crosses, is a nose dive back to the center of her being and her loneliness, in this passage from adolescence to adulthood. On this specific day, rather than partying with her friends, she has to join the family clan and attend a soccer game.

In this thunderous novel, there is a silent cry, as she takes us on her breathless story, between factual moments, dreams and memories. Isolated in the multitude, it makes us travel at full speed in an urban story; her relationship to nature; to strangers; and a host of characters parading on this anniversary day. All characters are passing by, just like us in this story opening as she wakes up; recognizing her anxiety; an invading sadness; a “sorrowful heart”.

Leaving everything behind, Toni decries her torments spiraling back; in larsen and mirror effects; the simplest things and others awakening disgust. She dissects them into an interior dialogue where she tries to give a sense to fate, in order to move forward despite everything on this special day. Toni’s anguish takes over and her preoccupations are far from panem et circences, although she feasts on toasted baguette and jubilates in the heat of a soccer stadium.

In her first novel at age 24, Shane Haddad empties her bag. With a well-constructed literary flow and the sweetness of a young woman who will regret nothing here; as she discovers the power, the beauty and the pain of life.

Shane Haddad, Toni tout court, P.O.L, 2021

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