Varlet Theo – The Demon in the Soul
Varlet Théo – The Demon in the Soul: At the beginning of the year 1914, a young couple in love, Étienne and Ida Serval, live in the south of France an easy happiness with a group of friends a little marginal. When the first world war occurred, Stephen, because of his Belgian nationality, escaped the mobilization. He and Ida think they can continue their withdrawn and simple life. But they lock themselves into their privileged happiness by cutting themselves little by little from all their friends and the inhabitants of the village. And their relationship, so fusional, is degrading … Étienne, obsessed with his writing and the creation of a companion in his image, does not see Ida wither, first because of the death of his mother, then out of trouble and isolation . Ida’s mental health is not resilient. Hallucinations and delusions leave her in an intolerable passivity to Étienne. He undertakes everything in his power to surround and care for him. But he soon does not support this wife who is only a shadow of herself and he nicknamed “the Dead”. The demon will eventually leave Ida’s soul by itself, leaving the two protagonists marked, far from their initial carelessness and joie de vivre. When the armistice arrives, the country is devastated … and the life of the couple too.
The two entities, the war and the couple, are treated in parallel throughout the novel: “The Demon of the soul” tears the country, undermines the reason for Ida and upsets the selfishness of Stephen.
Theo Varlet, pseudonym of Duodat Serval, has published several novels of science fiction, but “I was wrong. I believed in progress, in civilization … Dreams! There is no progress. The human beast is always the same. It is the fatal law: the peoples must devour each other, instead of uniting for the common work. According to J.-H. Rosny elder, Theo Varlet is “a visionary, a runner of universes, and in any case, one of the finest talents of his generation”.