Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Jean-Christophe Valtat's "03"

The Novella "03" translated from the French is a
"eighty-one page monologue, written in one unbroken
paragraph, about a teen-age boy's unrequited love for a
mentally handicapped girl he sees every day at the bus
stop, has an enormous, controlled rage."

One Passage:

"Then things just stayed put: her baffling inability to
understand anything; her clumsy, late first steps,
which she sooon abandoned in favor of swaying from
one foot to the other; her awkward imitations of their
gestures, waving good-bye by throwing up her arm,
as if on a spring, her fingers held rigidly together,or
using the wrong movement from an already tiny
repertoire, like stiffly using her forearm to scratch her
head; the words she heard and, incredulous, let float
away on the air, ungrasped, bubbles empty of
meaning and quick to burst (her little red tongue was
like a sticky wrapper stuck to a lemondrop of silence);
the great, vivid emptiness of her eyes in which her
parents could see nothing but their own intensified
distress; the excruciating slowness of it all was enough
to drive anyone mad."

The New Yorker, 09/2010

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