40 ezer szó
Első regényem egy lány nyomozását meséli el egy soha nem ismert apa után.
40 thousand words, 1999
Sophie Vaudrois, 13 years old, has been living in a small village in Brittany with distant relatives since she lost her mother Jeanne in a recent car accident. Forlorn and fighting with suicidal thoughts, she finds an old paper box with her mother’s letters from the time before she was born. She learns that Jeanne went to Paris at age 14 with a group and stayed there during the students’ revolt. Later she met a businessman with a white Citroën, whom she caught cheating on her, and left Paris, pregnant with Sophie.
Sophie, very upset, travels to Bordeaux, to Jeanne’s friend Martine Boisrond, with whom the most important letters were exchanged. Martine, who didn’t dare yet tell Sophie that she and her husband have applied to adopt her, confesses she doesn’t know who her father is. Sophie decides to find him, immediately. Martine and Jean-Pierre feel they must help her, but Sophie leaves them due to a misunderstanding, offended.
In Avignon, she meets a girl about 16 in fancy dress, Nat, who Sophie takes for a prostitute. Nat takes Sophie home with her.
Meanwhile, it occurs to the Boisronds that Sophie takes her amateur radio everywhere, so they call Sophie’s friend Françoise in Brittany for the callsign. Next day Françoise calls their schoolmates and announces they must save Sophie.
Walking around in Avignon, Sophie runs across François Charvel, a travelling agent she knows from home. He is easy to persuade not to call the police: she saved his life and he feels in her debt. Nat, who is actually a librarian and wears an ordinary outfit on workdays, and François begin organizing the search for Sophie’s father.
However, it’s Françoise who works out how they might find a trace of Sophie’s father. They must look for a piece of paper with any information on it – a name, a phone number or anything – which Jeanne Vaudrois didn’t notice and therefore didn’t throw out. Sophie’s uncle Gaston manages to reach Sophie by amateur radio, but Sophie won’t tell him where she is; only that she’s got lodging and that an old acquaintance is taking care of her. And she gives her permission for Françoise and the other kids to be allowed into their house, which is currently locked.
Seven children enter the house and go through everything. Meanwhile, Sophie and Nat find a possible source of information nearby and go there, but to no avail as the man doesn’t know anything. After a disagreement with Nat, an offended Sophie runs away, directly into the path of a car, and wakes up in the hospital with a broken arm.
On the second day of the house search, they find a postcard of an American hotel, sent to Jeanne at Christmas, 1971 when she was in love with a businessman signing himself as “your love, Antoine.” Françoise calls Martine, who’s not very impressed since she’d rather find Sophie than her father.
Gaston cannot reach Sophie as she’s in the hospital, while her radio was broken in the accident. Talking with Martine, he recollects what Sophie said about an old acqaintance. Everyone Sophie knows lives in Brittany, but they’re sure Sophie isn’t in that region. Gaston can only think of two people who are old acquaintances of Sophie and are currently away. One of them is François Charvel.
Françoise is called from Connecticut and informed about the businessman Antoine Jeanneau, complete with his home and work address.
An old sailor in Sophie’s village knows the phone number of the place where François Charvel stays when not travelling, and leaves a message there.