What I want is to bear the name I was given at birth, without hiding it, without dressing it up, without fear.
She was born Polina, but in France is called Pauline. Four letters and everything changes. She began leading a double life after arriving in Saint-Etienne as a child after the fall of the USSR: she is Polina at home, Pauline in school. Now, twenty years on, living outside Paris, she makes an appointment at the court to reclaim her first name.
This moving debut novel is built around a life split between two languages and two nations. On one hand, there is the Russia of her childhood, with its dachas and communal apartments, where generations mixed; the world of her unforgettable grandparents, and of Tiotia Nina. And on the other, France, the country of maternelchik, the language she must overcome, and raclette cheese.
Funny, tender and irreverent, Tenir sa langue reveals an extraordinary voice.