Paru le 9 Oct. 2019
ISBN 978-2-07-284978-7
152 pages
12.50 euros
  Croire aux fauves

  Nastassja Martin

Prix François Sommer-Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature 2020
Prix Joseph Kessel 2020
Prix du Réél 2020 (Mollat et Sud-Ouest)

« Ce jour-là, le 25 août 2015, l’événement n’est pas : un ours attaque une anthropologue française quelque part dans les montagnes du Kamtchatka. L’événement est : un ours et une femme se rencontrent et les frontières entre les mondes implosent. Non seulement les limites physiques entre un humain et une bête qui, en se confrontant, ouvrent des failles sur leurs corps et dans leurs têtes. C’est aussi le temps du mythe qui rejoint la réalité ; le jadis qui rejoint l’actuel ; le rêve qui rejoint l’incarné. »


“That day, August 25th 2015, the event was not: a bear attacked a French anthropologist somewhere in the mountains of Kamchatka. The event was: a bear and a woman met, and the boundaries between their worlds imploded. The physical boundaries between a human and a beast, by confronting each other, opened loopholes in their bodies and in their minds. And the time of myth became reality; the past met the present; the dream became incarnated.”

Croire aux fauves is the story of a one-to-one fight between a bear and an anthropologist in Kam-chatka. As Nastassja Martin points out immediately, it is both a wound and a rebirth, from which she came out deeply transfigured. The singularity of her point of view is her passionate commitment to all the communities she has studied – the Gwich’in of Alaska and the Even of Kamchatka –, a commitment so strong that it sometimes abolished the distance and led her to deep inner-questioning.

The author recounts the numerous surgeries undergone in Russia and then in France. During the last hospitalization, new infectious threats occurred. Faced with these gloomy prospects, the survivor decides to return to the Evens. And it is in this refuge of disturbing familiarity that she deepens the questions which assaulted her for months, puts them in tune with the Earth inhabited by ancestral beliefs and elementary solidarities, but also tests the stigma of some inhabitants towards the «miedka» she has become – half wo¬man, half beast. It is this ultimate stigmatization which will fuel her desire to push further her anthropological meditation.