Five years after winning the Goncourt with All Men Do Not Live in the Same World, Jean-Paul Dubois is back as himself. The Origin of Tears is in fact a black comedy which tells in a bittersweet tone the spleen of a solitary and melancholic man who prefers dogs to humans and who is called Paul (his alter ego from one book to the ‘other), motifs that could be described as recurring among the French author.

Paul has just killed his father… who has already been dead for two weeks. A judge orders him to undergo therapy for a year, and this is the path the novel takes, each chapter being the story of a meeting with his psychiatrist, Frédéric Guzman.

The tears here are multiple: they are those of the doctor, who suffers from an illness that makes him constantly cry from his right eye, and there are those of Paul, deeper, whose mother and twin brother died at His birth. At 51, he is convinced that his life would have been different if they had survived, and that it would not have been ruined by his father, a manipulative trickster to whom he has infinite hatred, and of whom he will gradually reveal little all the tentacles. Only the kindness and gentleness of his mother-in-law Rebecca, owner of a funeral cover company, will have been a shield against this toxic father.

“It’s raining so much. » This first sentence sets the tone for this dystopia – the action takes place in 2031. Climate change creates an anxiety-provoking backdrop to this book which talks about family and inheritance, which we choose or refuse.

The number of times Guzman interrupts the session to wipe his eyes, for example, rather than being amusing, is very annoying.

We also wonder how Rebecca, who raised Paul, could have been so in love with such a malicious man. This remains the great incongruity of the book, and if Paul’s hatred of the evil incarnate that is his father is absolutely legitimate, both the wickedness of one and the rehashing of the other seem a little “too much”.

It is these snags which make us seem here to be a minor Dubois. There are still moments of grace, particularly when the character is alone, when he reflects on otherness or when he discusses with artificial intelligence. And of course, the whole obsessive relationship with death emerges, a common thread as distressing as it is funny – the funeral cover business, which Paul inherits, is certainly what gives rise to the best of the author’s black humor.

This is how we find with a certain jubilation his disillusioned view of the world, as well as the elegance of his writing: a less successful Dubois will always be above average.