Short summary - Behind the glass - Robert Merle

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Behind the glass
Robert Merle

In the 60s. The Sorbonne became cramped by its old walls - it was suffocating from the influx of students. Then they had to make a difficult decision reluctantly, the university admitted that some of the children of the capital would not be able to get a higher education in Paris itself, the Faculty of Philology tore a piece out of its own body and threw it into the vacant lots of Nanterre. In 1964, in the midst of construction, the new faculty opened its paint-splattered doors to students. The action of the novel covers one day - March 22, 1968. Along with fictional characters, real persons are presented - Dean Grappen, Assessor God, student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

Six o'clock in the morning. Abdelaziz hears the alarm clock and opens his eyes. Darkness and icy cold. Sometimes he says to himself: “Abdelaziz, why are you hanging around here? Construction, dirt, rain, death longing. Are you sure you haven't miscalculated? Which is better: the sun without food or food and cold? "

Seven o'clock. The alarm clock rings, and Lucy the Minstrel instantly jumps out of bed. There is nothing to lie about - this is the decisive second semester. After washing and boxing with his own reflection in the mirror, he has a leisurely breakfast. Why doesn't he have a girl? Other guys easily bring their girlfriends to the hostel. Casting a glance at the torn-up construction pit outside the window, he sits down at the table: he needs to finish the Latin translation and re-read Jean-Jacques for the seminar. Slug Bushut, of course, is still sleeping. Before leaving, the Minstrel stops in front of his door - two straight left from a short distance, pam-pam!

Eight hours. David Schultz, twenty-one, second-year sociology student, anarchist leader, scornfully looks around his cramped kennel. She and Brigitte barely fit in the narrow bunk. Sexual segregation has ended, but even girls who sleep with boys are not truly free. So Brigitte shivered, as soon as he raised his voice - she is afraid that the neighbors will hear. He looks at himself in the mirror with disgust - the well-fed ryashka of his mama's son is immediately visible. Why do these fools think he's handsome? And Brigitte bitterly thinks that all talk about equality means nothing.

Briefly exists thanks to the ad:

Nine Hours. Assistant Delmont tosses at the door to the office of the head of the department of Professor Earlier. We need to ask this nonentity to support his candidacy for the position of full-time teacher. There are many applicants, and Marie-Paul Lagardette, who is walking down the corridor with a smile, will surely out-skip him, because she knows how to flatter this pouty turkey.

Eleven o'clock. The minstrel sits in a reading room and stares unseeingly at an old French text. My dear mother seemed to send money, but the scholarship is again delayed - he is in danger of financial disaster. True, there is hope of getting a baby sitter job from two little spoiled thugs. Will he cope with them? I really want to eat - but I want even more to be loved. Meanwhile, David Schultz meets an Algerian construction boy. Abdelaziz covers the terrace with tar. Thick glass separates the youths. The student reader is like a large aquarium.

Thirteen hours. Little, thin, looking like a street boy Denise Fargeau sits in a student cafe and listens attentively to an older comrade - the communist Jome. The conversation is about politics; but Denise thinks about something else entirely. Zhomay has a beautiful face. True, he is already terribly old - about twenty-five years old, no less. It would be great to go with him to Scotland for the summer holidays. Jome, having completed the educational conversation, forgets about Denise: Jacqueline Cavaillon sits down with them, and he reacts lazily to her frank flirting. Everything has its time: he never had a shortage of young "parishioners".

Fifteen hours. Abdelaziz and two old workers are summoned by the boss. Construction is coming to an end and jobs have to be cut. The boss would prefer to leave the young one, but Abdelaziz refuses in favor of Moktar. The second Algerian rushes at the young man with a knife - Abdelaziz hardly manages to repulse the blow. One hope remains - to find a friendly guy from the reading room. David instantly finds a dorm room for a young Algerian.

Sixteen hours. In the professors' club, assistant Delmod listens to the rantings. Earlier: it is necessary to suppress the anarchic tendencies of students, ruthlessly exclude rioters and create a university police. Unable to bear it, Delmont rushes to the exit and almost knocks the Earlier down. Jacqueline Cavaillon makes a "great" decision - do you need to become like other girls, Jaime or Minstrel? Jaime has too many worries. She asks Lucien a date in her room.

Eighteen hours. Denise Fargeau is trying to write an essay. But the sheet remains white after forty minutes of work. My head is knocking. one thought - how to achieve the love of Jome?

Eighteen hours thirty minutes. In the university cafeteria, Professor Fremencourt - liberal and clever - consoles Delmont. Can't give a damn about the incident with Earlier. Let the scientific advisor place his assistant directly at the Sorbonne. From the revenge of one university bonza, one should be saved by the patronage of another. And a rebellious gesture will promote a career.

Nineteen hours thirty minutes. Radical students take over the tower where the university administration is located. Thus, they want to protest against the indifferent law, the repressive government. Listening to fiery speeches, David Schultz thinks that Brigitte is now studying mathematics with Abdelaziz - it was decided to help the guy get at least a primary education. Of course, David despises bourgeois prejudices and stands up for free love, but Brigitte is above all his girl. The students do not take their eyes off the famous Dani Cohn-Bendit, and Denise Fargeau, taking this opportunity, snuggles closer to Jaime. At the same time, Professor N. is balancing on the brink of life and death - a heart attack brought him down right in the tower.

Twenty two hours. In a small service apartment on the sixth floor of the tower, Professor N. is still fighting for his life. Jacqueline Cavaillon lies in bed and wants to die. If the Minstrel does not come, she will eat all the pills, then they will all dance - mother, father, and Minstrel. Lucien himself does not know whether he needs this girl now. He has a lot of problems and is brutally hungry. The baby-sitter's place swam away - the damn Englishwoman suddenly departed. Borrow some money from Bushut? Then you can't drive this bore out of the room. He enters Jacqueline and immediately notices the pills. God, only this was not enough for him! .. Having scolded the stupid girl, he sees the sandwiches she has prepared and swallows his saliva. Happy Jacqueline watches him eat. The ice of stiffness is gradually melting - they both lacked love so much!

Twenty-three hours and thirty minutes. David Schultz examines the sleeping Brigitte. He realizes that he is entangled in contradictions: on the one hand, he reproaches his girl for inert ideology and respectable frigidity, and on the other, he does not admit the thought that she can belong to another. You still need to know what kind of morality to choose for yourself.

One hour forty five minutes. Tired students free the captured tower. Assessor God reports to Dean Gralpen that the revolution has announced a sleep break, Professor N. still manages to cope with a heart attack. And Denise Fargeau finally decides to invite Jome to a vacation in Scotland.