Sunday, July 18, 2010
those enfants terribles taking final exams
now that nobody is commenting on these posts anymore, i am positive no one is in the room of this literary salon that is proceeding as slow as a snail in its development.
I can comfortably let a little fart out without feeling deadly ashamed and embarassed and I can talk to myself out loud without seeming crazy.
Therefore, out loud, I will remind myself that right now I'm reading Les enfants terribles by Jean Cocteau, beautiful, one of those reads you know it is going to stick with you, underneath your skin, forever even if,for some obscure reason, you decided that you wanted to forget about it. It is a book I wish I have read ten years ago, at least. Brother and sister share a private world from which the outer world is excluded, a world ruled by the rules of the Game.
Where did I find it? in front of my door-step, delivered by the postman right to my house all the way from Ireland, wrapped in an envelope without the sender's name nor address for a possible return in case it got lost.It could have really gotten lost badly. However I got it and I not only got the book in the envelope. The book was wrapped inside a HAND-WRITTEN letter that started with my name. How often does that happen?
Days go by at the bookstore selling books,buying books,finding and losing books, missing books, forgetting books, pricing books, cleaning books and also discovering books.
So the other day one of those books that speak to you straight from the cover, fell into my hands as randomly as a snow flake on your tongue: Final exam, by Julio Cortazar. By now I have developed the sixth sense of a bookseller which is being able to recognize the smell of a good book and so I approached reading pieces and bits here and there to see what kind of goodness I stumbled on.
Its edition is an advance uncorrected proof of New Directions Books, with an introduction by its translator,Alfred Mac Adam. Towards the end of this very informative intro, the translator tells us that,quote: the book could be considered a summary of the author's readings during the 1940s, from the forgotten detective novels of Nigel Balchin to the almost forgotten existentialist novels of Andre' Malraux. It is tempting, the translator continues, to read the novel as Cortazar's autobiography, but that is inaccurate , even though he infuses many of his literary and esthetic believes into the male characters.For example Andres ,like Cortazar himself, is dazzled by Jean Cocteau's Opium,which opens the door to surrealism.End of quote.
That day my cinese fortune cookie said: today you will believe in magic, books are like invisible bridges over infinite rivers of infinite possibilities. (cheesy as usual!)
Another read I'm going to look forward to.