Felix and the invisible source

Title: Felix and the invisible source

Original Title: Félix et la source invisible

Author: Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

Publishing House: Humanitas fiction

Number of Pages: 136

Cover Type: Paperback

Hello everyone, I hope you guys had a day as great as mine was. Why was it great? I have no idea, I just feel perfect. So good that I want to share with you the latest book I read. As the title says, it is called Felix and the invisible source ( I would mention that this is the adaptation I chose, since I couldn’t find any references online on how was the book translated in English).

The book is presented over the entire course through what it is almost an autobiography, seen through the eyes of a 12 years old child. The plot of the book starts when the mother of Felix is affected by a strange disease, which cannot be cured by the doctors or magicians, and which pushes her to commit some very irresponsible actions, almost destroying her life and her family’s life.

The boy, Felix, is more of a static character, since he does not evolve much over the course of the book (although I would say he is pretty mature for his age). Actually I don’t think that the intention was to create a building novel, but to create a diversity novel. This means that the book tried to touch subjects like racism, transgendering, sex equality, connection with the nature and even the practicing of the rituals. It is like an amalgam of typologies revolving around the same people, which is actually normal since we are talking about a black woman with a child living in the middle of France.

I think the essence of the book can be described very well by what it already is the traditional note of the author on the back cover of the book:

I search for the particular and the universal in every spirituality. I am fascinated about constants: the necessity of overcoming the selfishness through selflessness, the obtaining of the serenity and interior peace, finding again the connection with the nature, which must be respected. At the same time, I try to reflect also the specific aspects. I investigate the sense treasures which the spirituality forms offer and I try, through my writings, to take the reader’s hand and help him discover something.

Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt about the book

The title of the book also sends to a series of eight novels (and rising) that Schmitt wrote, called “The invisible cycle”. I have never talked about it before, but I think the time has come. It is a series of novels which focus mostly on the idea of spirituality. Cause that’s what the idea of invisibility is all about, connecting to oneself, being more close to your spirit, the spirit of your ancestors and the spirit of the nature. This book is even more obvious from this point of view since it puts in an antithesis the idea of living in the nature vs the idea of living in the middle of a crowded place like Paris. But what it is even more interesting is that the author did not create this antithesis with promoting one or another, but presented the idea in a way that you can live in the nature thinking about the city but you can also live in the city and feel the nature inside you, feel the wind and listening to the birds. It is all a matter of perspective and choice.

Fatou, the mother of Felix, is a women who was born in Senegal, from a Senegal mother and a Mauritania father. She grew up reading books, smelling the fresh air and living in harmony with herself and the invisible. But one event in her life made her run away from her roots and create a new life, a false life which she thought was protecting the ones she loved. But was it? Wasn’t it just a beautiful lie created to hide from the fear she was feeling and the guiltiness that was consuming her every day?

Fatou is the vivid example of how one can destroy his life or the lives of the loved ones by refusing to accept the reality. And although the book was presented in a pretty fantasist way, the implications in the life of someone can be really severe.

I sometimes wonder how much reality is inside the books of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt? And I say that because I learned not to deny anything in life until I have complete proof that it is untrue. So that makes me also revise twice the possibility that a human being would communicate to the spirits, either directly or in an intrinsic way, through feeling the energy of the loved ones. Also, my question is also based on a statement the author posted on his own website:

“I’ve always written novels and short stories. However, unlike plays, it took me a long time to write a narrative I considered publishable. Whereas, paradoxically, the constraints of the theatre allowed me to realize my literary aspirations, for years the novel scared me off precisely because of the total freedom it offered, which I felt was open to abuse. Why write 300 pages instead of 100? How far do you go with description? What point of view do you adopt? By great good fortune, the subjects of my books forced my hand. They suggested themselves to me and made me listen to them and spend months writing their stories; they made me work for them, not the other way round. So, thank you Pilate, thank you Monsieur Ibrahim, thank you Oscar! As for Adolf Hitler, well, much as I like The Alternative Hypothesis, the book he inspired, I’m afraid I’m not in the habit of thanking him!”


Based on this quote, I am not sure whether They suggested themselves to me means that he actually knew those characters and he decided to tell their story, either with complete honesty or in a more improvised way, or that the persons are a figment of his imagination. I honestly tend to believe, actually I want to believe, that they were real characters, even if this sometimes breaks my heart. But I want them to be real because it means that those persons really had a lot to tell, had a load of feelings and somehow by telling their story they made the world better. They left their legacy behind so they will never be forgotten.

So what exactly is this invisible source that this books revolves around? Well I think it is the power that lies inside of us to get better, to love and understand each other. It is about having the faith in us, in God, in nature, letting ourselves free from prejudice and hate and accessing the next level of the universe, beyond what it is obvious and into the world of the spirits, the unseen. There are a lot of things that can be concluded from this idea of the invisible, but I think each one can draw it’s own best so that it would serve one well. 🙂

© picnicontheshelf, December 7, 2020


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