A few weeks ago, Marc Levy found himself in Washington, in the middle of an audience of journalists, during the very popular dinner for White House correspondents. If the French novelist was invited to the annual baked good of the President of the United States, it is undoubtedly because his trilogy 9, which recounts the tribulations of a group of computer hackers, is fueled by current events. And that Janice, one of the characters from noahthe third novel in the series, is inspired by the story of Carol Cadwalladr, the British journalist behind the world premiere on the malfeasance of Cambridge Analytica.
Disinformation and threats to democracy are at the heart of the plots imagined by Marc Levy, who portrays his brave hackers as modern-day resistance fighters. Using technology, the nine hackers try to block attempts at corruption and manipulation by a network of oligarchs who plot to neutralize Western powers. After battling the dark conspiracies of the pharmaceutical industry and disinformation on social networks, the group tries to foil the plots of dictator Loutchin, a sort of cross between Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin, while supporting investigative journalist Janice on field.
By the time I released the novel in Europe, it was the start of the invasion of Ukraine. In the first interviews, people said to me: but then, do you have a gift of clairvoyance?
“But come on, if you are interested in the news, you can see that the war in Ukraine is only the culmination of a vast project led by Putin which began when he decided to support Bashar al-Assad and to provoke an unprecedented migratory flow and a refugee crisis towards Europe to destabilize it. It continued with Russian interference during the 2016 election and Brexit. In short, if we follow the news, we saw the invasion of Ukraine coming. »
Fueled by indignation
Marc Levy says inspiration first came to him while reading about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the communications firm that used the personal data of more than 85 million Facebook users to influence them politically with misinformation messages targeted. “This is a huge operation of political manipulation which played a decisive role in Brexit as well as an important role in the election of [Donald] Trump,” recalls the novelist.
“To see the democracies victims of the attacks of the oligarchies and of this white-collar crime, it is my writing engine in the same way as the rise of Nazism could have been a writing engine for a writer in 1938”, adds Levy, who believes that “in this age of disinformation, getting informed is an important civil act”.
To write the three novels in the series 9Marc Levy has conducted research that is not so far removed from journalistic work: investigation, interviews with experts, discussions with hackers who trusted him… The author says he works without a researcher to protect the security of his sources and, he adds, because he wants to immerse himself in what he learns before writing.
Marc Levy does not hide his admiration for journalists in general, and for Carol Cadwalladr in particular. He flew from New York to London specifically to go have lunch with her. “I didn’t tell her that I was only coming to see her, I didn’t want to put pressure on her,” he says. I told him that I was going to tell his story. It made him laugh. She did not see herself as a heroine of a novel, ”he continues.
Me, I admire someone who fights for interests other than his own, for a real, just and humane cause. She took risks to denounce crimes with extremely important societal consequences, at a time when no one wanted to hear them.
The novelist says he is outraged by the fight that this journalist from the Guardian and of theObserve had to lead, alone, against multi-billionaire Arron Banks – the financier of the pro-Brexit movement – who tried to silence her with a multimillion-dollar SLAPP. Banks suffered his first setback in court this week, but plans to appeal his case.
Marc Levy continues: “It is incredible that the English did not revolt more on the very nature of the lawsuit against Carol. The judge should have simply dismissed the filing of this complaint. To say that a billionaire could use his fortune to muzzle a journalist is an absolutely incredible denial of democracy. »
In noah, Marc Levy has renamed billionaire Ayrton Cash. As he writes so well in the epigraph of his novel: “Any resemblance to existing or having existed people… Oh, and then shit. »
Questionnaire without filter
Coffee and me: I am a coffee lover like others are wine lovers. I’m interested in everything from the bean to the roast to the grind to the quality of the machine. Preparing a good coffee is both simple and very complicated.
The book on your bedside table: Birds will die in Peru, an absolutely magnificent collection of short stories by Romain Gary. And among the readings that I keep for my three weeks of vacation on the Ile de Ré, in July, we find simonethe novel by a namesake named Léa Chauvel-Lévy, as well as Connemaraby Nicolas Mathieu, and Number two, by David Foenkinos.
The media you consult every day: My two beacons in the night are the Guardian and the washington post. I also read the International mail which is still quite extraordinary, because it provides access to great journalism. And The worldobviously.
People, dead or alive, that you would like to gather at your table: I would say my father and his grandchildren, so he knows them. It’s a little selfish, but I miss his conversations, which were illuminating. I miss her look, her intelligence, her wisdom and even her comfort. Otherwise, I would have let Mother Teresa and Poutine have dinner alone together. I think her intelligence would have triumphed over Putin’s barbarism. It’s a dinner that could have been a light to the world.
Who is Marc Levy
- Born October 16, 1961.
- He created a company specializing in synthetic images and managed an architecture firm.
- Her first novel, And if it was truereleased in 2000, was adapted by Steven Spielberg.
- To date, he has published 22 novels which have been translated into 50 languages and sold over 50 million copies.