What if one single picture would suffice to instill horror in people’s minds? In this first hard-boiled novel brimming with an almost hypnotic suggestive power, Nicolas Geibel dazzles us with a unique and original universe.
One morning, the first photography appears on the sidewalk of the Rue Faidherbe in Paris. Just one glance at the picture and two passing freshmen scream out in fear, collapsing on the spot. Alarmed by the boys’ cries, passers-by rush to the scene and are seized by the same madness when they lay eyes on the unspeakable picture. A second photography is mailed to the job centre. The secretary who opens the envelope is devastated by this inconceivable vision. Rapidly, an incontrollable fear spreads among the population. Julien and Pierre, Special Forces attached to the ministry, go about the case in their usual methodical way. But what they are up against goes far beyond the usual kind of attacks that bereaved France of its citizens up until now. And can this kind of contagious horror be qualified as an attack properly speaking?
Cité is written in the tradition of the American hard-boiled fiction, which inspires the dark and desperate atmosphere of the novel as well as its unflinching look on the failures of society. Nicolas Geibel retraces the ricochet effect of terrorism on the human psyche by highlighting the disintegration of social cohesion terrorism feeds off as well as the progressive dehumanization it gives rise to. Bordering on the Nouveau Roman, Cité unfolds its intrigue with chirurgical precision by omitting all feelings and moods of the characters. With its irresistible attraction, the violence of the images works like a black hole.
A brilliant literary debut which delivers an uncompromising reflection on the nature of violence; a violence which is at the same time unintelligible, fascinating, endemic and capable of destroying all projects for a living together in peace.