One evening in front of the fire, Claude said to me, “If I were a man, I would marry you”. And I heard myself answer her, “If I were a man, I would marry you; but not if I were a woman”. Why? “Because we are inside time. Because we can’t detach ourselves from time and we wouldn’t be able to build anything enduring together. If you were a man and I were a woman, I couldn’t accept to be defined by you”.
It was painful for me to say these words which shattered the enchantment. But the price of our encounter was that no lie could slide itself between us, even at the cost of heartbreak.
In this Game of Chess, first published in 1970, the writer undertakes a multilevelled excavation of herself, her era and psyche. The alchemy between sensitivity and intelligence that sits on the surface of the words shocks and dizzies us.
Édith Thomas was involved in all the combats of the 20th century: the Spanish Civil War, communism, the Resistance, Algeria. Unlike Dominique Aury, her lover, and Simone de Beauvoir, her modesty buried her in anonymity. Republished, The Game of Chess finally brings her justice, especially by shedding light on her prophetic prose on women’s fight for their identity, their independence and their rights.