British Novelists (1/1) and (4/4)

The front cover of Sophie Kinsella’s novel, The Undomestic Goddess.

Front cover

There are 2 parts in this post : the first and the last parts


Who is Samantha Sweeting?

Samantha Sweeting is an experienced and efficient young lawyer working for a renowned City law firm.

The character of The Undomestic Goddess by British novelist Sophie Kinsella, published in 2006 by Black Swan, is completely monopolized by her work, rather dependent on work (workaholic), and aspires to pursue the career of which she has always dreamed of, becoming a partner of one of London’s largest law firms.

She ran away and called herself a cordon bleu

The novel is narrated in the first person. Very early on, in the first twelve pages of the novel, the character recalls what her mother had told her: « you succeed under pressure, Samantha ». She learned the hard way what happens when the professional sphere expands to the detriment of that of social life.

Samantha, after leaving her office, finds herself in a village and becomes in spite of herself a housekeeper in a house inhabited by a rich couple Trish and her husband Eddy Geiger. The latter mistook Samantha for the cleaning lady whose arrival they expected. The unfortunate heroine accepted this job and even ventured to say she worked under the orders of a star chef, whose name she coined, to the delight of her new employers.

In trouble

The author mixes the comic and the tragic. Samantha is persuaded to have made a prejudicial error at the law firm and at the end of an aimless race, and so she was disoriented, arrives in a house where she seeks help (an analgesic and water) and improvises as a cleaning lady.

But very quickly Samantha was confronted with the formidable tasks inherent in her role as a servant. How will she get out of this difficult situation? In terms of cooking, she can’t get out of trouble because she had no qualifications. Providence, however, sends her Nathaniel, the gardener of the Geiger. It is thanks to the help of his mother and

her dedication that Samantha has managed to become, if not a cordon bleu, at least to master the fundamentals of culinary practices.

The knockout

Samantha ended up calling one of her co-workers on the phone, trying to persuade him that she hadn’t made any mistake, even though she admitted that she was wrong to leave her job. Finally, she receives a call from the law firm director, who tells her, in a determined and cold tone, the end of her employment contract.


Samantha (4/4)

Les collègues de Samantha ont réussi à la persuader d’accepter l’offre consistant à être un partenaire à part entière dans le cabinet d’avocats d’affaires. Elle a hésité longtemps avant de l’accepter. Cela veut dire que ses collègues et en particulier Guy, son ami, ont utilisé des arguments très convaincants. Ce ne sont pas des avocats pour rien. De plus le retour de Samantha à Londres a fait l’objet d’une publicité incomparable. Samantha s’est trouvée au centre d’un cirque médiatique (media circus) qui était à la limite du harcèlement. Donc Samantha quitte la campagne et ses employeurs à la fois sympathiques, naifs et médusés et bien évidemment au moment de son départ son ami Nathanaël n’était pas là et c’est cela qui va constituer un problème. Elle ne sait malheureusement pas où il est parti. Il semble qu’il est allé ailleurs pour s’occuper d’un projet qu’il avait en vue. Pendant le trajet en train Samantha était suivie par un caméraman qui tentait d’épier ses gestes et lire dans ses pensées. Ce qui a frappé notre héroïne (malgré elle) pendant ce voyage, c’est que ses collègues qui l’ont accompagnée étaient tous occupés à regarder leur portable, manifestement absorbés par leur travail et par conséquent ne jetant même pas pendant un court instant un regard par la fenêtre pour voir le paysage. Samantha était ostensiblement choquée par cette façon de s’abstraire du monde. Mais le train a dû s’arrêter pour une raison technique et par conséquent cet arrêt a provoqué la panique chez les collaborateurs de Samantha parce qu’ils vont arriver en retard à leur rendez-vous et c’est cette inquiétude qu’elle a observée chez ses collègues qui lui a fourni une raison valable de ne pas aller plus loin. Elle a donc décidé de mettre fin à ce nouveau contrat ce qui a suscité l’étonnement voire la stupéfaction de ses collègues. Elle a profité de l’arrêt du train pour descendre et rebrousser chemin pour rentrer à la campagne et retrouver son ami Nathanaël. L’attrait qu’a exercé sur elle la vie paisible à la campagne et l’attachement à son ami (voire l’amour) ont triomphé de son rêve professionnel. De fait, elle n’est pas contre le travail mais rejette les conditions dans lesquelles il est exercé. Elle rejette désormais de toute son âme les trépidations de la vie professionnelle londonienne. Mais aux yeux de tant de personnes Samantha a perdu la raison. C’est inconcevable, selon la mère, et surtout pour ses collègues, de renoncer à un poste aussi prestigieux pour courir après un homme et faire du nettoyage et d’autres tâches domestiques dévalorisantes.

428 mots

Samantha’s colleagues managed to persuade her to accept the offer to be a full partner in the business law firm. She hesitated a long time before accepting it. This means that her colleagues and in particular Guy, her friend, used very convincing arguments. They are not lawyers for nothing. In addition, Samantha’s return to London was the subject of incomparable publicity. Samantha found herself at the center of a media circus that bordered on harassment. So Samantha leaves the countryside and her employers at the same time sympathetic, naive and dumbfounded and quite obviously at the time of her departure her friend Nathanaël was not there and that is what will constitute a problem. Unfortunately, she does not know where he went. It seems that he went elsewhere to take care of a project he had in mind. During the train ride Samantha was followed by a cameraman who was trying to spy on her gestures and read her mind. What struck our heroine (in spite of herself) during this trip was that her colleagues who accompanied her were all busy looking at their cell phones, obviously absorbed in their work and therefore not even glancing out the window for a short moment to see the landscape. Samantha was conspicuously shocked by the way hers colleagues are abstracting themselves from the world.

But the train had to stop for a technical reason and therefore this stop caused panic among Samantha’s collaborators because they will arrive late for their appointment and it is this concern that she observed at her colleagues which provided her with a valid reason not to go further. She therefore decided to end this new contract, which aroused the astonishment and even the amazement of her colleagues. She took advantage of the train stop to descend and turn back to return to the countryside and find her friend Nathanaël. The attraction that peaceful country life had for her and the attachment to her friend (even love) triumphed over her professional dream. In fact, she is not against work but rejects the conditions in which it is exercised. She now rejects with all her soul the excitement of London’s professional life. But in the eyes of so many people Samantha has lost her mind. It is inconceivable, according to the mother, and especially for her colleagues, to give up such a prestigious position to run after a man and do cleaning and other debasing domestic tasks.

428 words

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Auteur : Salahdnl

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