Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Pascal Bruckner's My little Husband

For nine months he also went regularly to see a psychoanalyst whose therapy consisted of alternating between sympathetic listening and aggressive listening. He let him speak then told him to see the positive side of things: he could have become obese, cross-eyed and sweaty. Instead of which he had chosen contraction, self-effacement. What style! A little bonsai instead of a great big baobab. How all those beanpoles that kept bashing their heads on the ceiling must envy him! Especially since he'd kept his thingy in perfect working order. Was there anything more important in life than to have a big pussy at one's beck and call? And he had the temerity to complain, to claim some inferiority complex or other? He had the temerity to consult a psychoanalyst! What a namby-pamby! Léon enjoyed being told off by his therapist like that. More than anything else he needed comforting, someone to tell him it wasn't as bad as all that. Sometimes his therapist would become morose and, in a confiding mood, almost whisper: ‘You must realise, old chap, that every woman turns her husband into a child. It's the story of every marriage. She tames him, domesticates him, mothers him. At first he's My Wild Beast, then My Pet, finally My Baby.’