12 - JAN 09 - Spudgun/Arthur Dreyfus
Curious Case of Madec Macand
(NOT to be confused with Madeleine McCann!)
Entretien Arthur Dreyfus/Spudgun – 09.01.2012
Team McCann must be delighted with the ongoing saga being played out over at the LEVESON inquiry set up after the debacle of News Internationals' HACKING exploits.
Not least because, despite the best efforts of Clarence Mitchell to purport otherwise, there IS no evidence to support his previous assertions that either his or his famous Clients, (Kate & Gerry McCann), 'phones may have been hacked.
Notwithstanding, the public inquiry, admittedly set up to "look at the practises and ethics of the British Press", appears to be turning into some bizarre McCann sideshow, where Journalists, Editors and Publishers line up and get to apologise to the McCanns for their coverage of their missing daughter.
Today, (9th January 2012), it was the turn of the Picture Editor for the Sun, John Edwards. Edwards expressed "regret" for the "Media scrum" that awaited them, (Kate & Gerry), when they returned home shortly after the disappearance of their daughter in Portugal.
Whilst I agree that some of the tactics employed by the Paps were unethical and invasive, (especially concerning the McCanns OTHER children), I'm at a LOSS as to understand exactly how Leveson expected any newspaper to behave towards a couple that had FLED Portugal, ( after they were made ARGUIDOS, potentially complicit in the disappearance of their daughter), a mere 48 hours after publicly declaring that they would "NEVER leave Portugal without Madeleine".
But then, I shall forever be bemused as to why the most Media Savvy couple on the planet, represented by a plethora of Media specialists, Publicists and exorbitant Lawyers, who have amassed a veritable FORTUNE from the British Press by way of donations masquerading as "settlements", book serialisation payments, not to mention a huge public support swayed by the MILLIONS of contrived column inches by way of their Press Releases and garbled statements; would ever DARE to partake in an inquiry designed to lambast or derogate the Press!!
Not so much biting the hand that feeds but moreover taking off the whole shoulder!
How the McCanns and their entourage react to ANOTHER publication that took place on the other side of the Channel Tunnel recently remains to be seen.
'Belle Famille', or 'Beautiful Family', tells the tale of Madec Macend, a young boy with 2 other siblings and parents who are Doctors, who seemingly disappears whilst on a holiday whilst his parents are out dining. The parents become celebrities after the child's Uncle orchestrates a global press campaign and the story is closely followed by those in "high places". Even the pope becomes involved when... Hang on ?
When mention of this tale started circulating on the Internet this week I strongly suspected a hoax. A spoof. A mischievous prank. Even the name, 'Madec Macand' is unequivocally designed to evoke instant comparisons!
To satisfy myself of the books authenticity, I looked a little further.
Arthur Dreyfus, a French/Swiss National, is a young writer who studied at the renowned Institut d'études politiques de Paris, whose first novel, 'La Synthèse du camphre' an interwoven tale of young love and the author's Grandfather who was a WW2 Concentration Camp survivor, received great critical acclaim in France and is currently the subject of plans for its adaptation into Cinema.
His second book, however, looks set to be an even greater sensation, where he is currently due to appear on a premiere French culture Television program to discuss it.
When I contacted him, he was quick to confirm that the book was "inspired" by the case of Madeleine McCann.
AD : It starts in Normandy with a French family going on holidays in Italy. The parents, who are Medical Doctors, have three children – among them Madec, a strange and discreet boy. When the family arrives in Italy, and after many strange happenings provoked by Madec, the little boy has an accident in the kitchen, while his parents are having dinner with their friends in a nearby restaurant.
When the mother comes back, she finds her son dead. Almost instinctively, she hides the body. As if it had never happened. From there, starts a long path, full of lies, pain, comedy, media, and cowardice. I wanted to write both about the relationship between (male) children and their mothers, and the relationship between reality and the media at the time of Internet.
Astonishingly, Arthur purports not to have done any extensive research or investigation into the McCann case :
AD : I just wanted to deal with what I had read and heard from the press. Once again, I am not an investigator. Neither an historian. Investigation files are not my passion. Precisely, the (French) media talked so much about Maddie that I didn’t need to carry on an extensive research to learn the basics about the case"
I press him and ask him if the book is based on any beliefs or instincts that he has.
AD : I have obviously no general thoughts or interpretations about the case; if so I would not have written this book. I am a novelist, not a Police Inspector, thus, I can only follow what my imagination leads me to create.
Of course, I was surprised by many details of the affair (the scale of the media campaign, the fact that the parents were suspected months after, the very faces of the McCanns, etc.) These details just filled me with the desire to go further and from that “live novel” to invent my own one...My belief does not count, given the fact that I’m writing fiction. Of course, the hypothesis that the parents could be guilty is more romanesque than the other, but this does not mean that I am in any way 100% sure about anything.
I ask him how he would respond to those who might criticise him for writing something that is critical or accusatory about a couple whose daughter is missing? He responds:
AD : I would say the truth : this is a fictional work.
I ask him if he is aware that the McCanns have undertaken a number of legal actions against people who have written anything which contrasts with the McCanns insistence that Madeleine was abducted, including Criminal Profiler Pat Brown and former Portuguese Police chief Goncalo Amaral, as well as Internet bloggers and Forum subscribers.
AD : I am aware of that. That is also why I added a prologue making things really clear for the reader before he starts discovering the novel and its characters.
I ask him if he is concerned whether the McCanns may seek to litigate against him regarding his book.
AD : Wait and see. Gallimard is an old and well-established publishing house in France (editor of Proust, Gide, or Aragon). Obviously, I did not received a huge amount of money to write this book. It is just an amazing story that inspired me. Never before has a vanished child so moved the world to that extent. The absence of the child took more space than her presence. I also wanted to study the vanity of modern media, and the perfect convicts it gives birth to, like paedophiles.
Finally, I ask whether the book will be translated into English.
AD : I would be delighted were it to be translated into English, a language that I love, but the editorial system makes it that the demand must come from the foreign editor itself. That is, it will be translated into English when an English editor will contact Gallimard to buy the translation rights of the book. I also know that Anglo-Saxon people very seldom read French literature and that it is thus difficult for a French author to be translated into English.
I hope that the curiosity about this (British) affair and the desire of the English readers will speed up the process".
I rather feel that the McCanns hope not.