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“Le Camp” : a prestigious French school featuring sex, drugs and capitalism
He is only 22 years old and his novel is already the satirical bestseller on Amazon. In “Le Camp”, Nathan Comons has written a not-so-flattering portrait of the French Grandes Ecoles. He knocks down HEC Paris (Business School), describing an environment full of sex, drugs and capitalism. Nathan Comons answered our questions on “Le Camp”.
In the fictional school of HIC (“Hautes imbécilités capitalistes”: High Capitalist Idiocies), Ethan is tired of capitalism and the superficiality of his school, in which money is the most important thing. The students are brainwashed to show how great it is to study and live in a prestigious school. As he is creating a sex company on the campus, the young man does not realise he is becoming a part of the system.
Nathan Comons is young but not a fool. He is still studying at HEC and his story could threaten his professional future. That is why he uses a pen name. However, he did not plan for his book to have such an amazing success and he is no longer afraid to show his face. “Le Camp” is self-published and is only available on Amazon. “The advantage of not having an editor is that nobody can ask me to delete parts of the book” Nathan Comons said. Self-published means self-promoted. The author has contacted many different media he liked to talk about his book. A risky challenge for a young novelist!
The readers' attention will be caught by the author's satirical humour and the incredible scenes happening throughout the story. The book should not be taken literally. Nevertheless, everything he wrote was inspired by real events. “This school gives a false impression of being “cool”. But giving access to a ping-pong table and a rooftop garden does not mean that you respect the students living here,” Nathan confessed. “Everybody acts as if they are happy to be a part of this school, and register with all the students associations. They feel free in a place which is entirely structured. The school mixes capitalism with seduction to attract new pupils.”
Nathan did not think about writing a book before entering HEC. After studying in ENS (Ecole Nationale Supérieure) and Sciences Po (Institute of Political Studies), the spirit of HEC and its pupils seemed so far from the reality that he could not help but writing about it. He does not live on the campus, which is not a good point for him. Nathan spends hours on public transport everyday from Saint Denis to attend classes. “People think that if you do not live with them, you cannot get used to them and hold your opinions back. You have to blend in with the crowd.”
In “Le Camp”, the image of an elite school where everyone lives in harmony waiting for the opportunity of a great career erodes throughout the book. “It is amazing how everyone claims that they have left-wing opinions because it is trendy. But they have a capitalist way of thinking. They wear a mask which prevents them from having real arguments.”
The pursuit of a good reputation does not go well with teaching. “They did not teach us the know-how, but the know-how-to-be,” Nathan explained with enthusiasm. “When I entered the school, I thought we would have forward-looking courses. They only taught us how to behave in a company.”
The young novelist seems to be highly disappointed by the Grandes Ecoles. He is not afraid of openly saying what is wrong within these schools : “You have two choices: whether you choose allegiance and shut up about what happens in there, or you do not accept it and claim there is a problem. I do not bite the hand that fed me, but I chose opposition.”
“Le Camp” is only available on Amazon and in French for now, in both digital and paper versions.
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