“minuscule places of exile”

September 20, 2012 § 6 Comments

A narract is what I call a text that is 100 percent postexotic; a narract is what I call a novelistic snapshot that captures a situation, a set of emotions, a conflict forever oscillating between memory and reality, between recollection and imagination. It is a poetic sequence from which all manner of dreams become possible, both or the actors involved and for the reader. In this book you will find forty-nine such prose moments. In each, as on a discreetly doctored photograph, you will glimpse the trace left by an angel. The angels here are insignificant and of no help to the characters. What I call narracts here are forty-nine organized images in which my favorite beggars and animals, along with a number of immortal old women, pause for a moment in their wanderings; for these are also minuscule places of exile, where those I remember and those I love go on existing as best they can. A narract is what I call a short musical piece whose principal reason for being is its music, but also where those I love can rest for a moment before setting off once again on their journey toward nothingness.

— Antoine Volodine, Introduction to the original French edition of Minor Angels

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§ 6 Responses to “minuscule places of exile”

  • Rima Dadenji says:

    Have you read Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain Fournier ?

    • Brad Johnson says:

      I have not read it. Saw the movie — or parts of it — but I only recall that I saw it, not the actual content, or even if I was following the French, which comes & goes like hunger. It has quite a reputation, the novel. I should do so!

      • Rima Dadenji says:

        Apparently it is best to read it during adolescence. It has that magic, it will mark or haunt your adolescence and never leave you. It’s one of my very favorite books. I read it when I was 14 year old. I carry it in my heart. I never watched the films ( for the obvious reason). If I recall well, they even did a new one some years ago.

    • Brad Johnson says:

      Yesterday I read Bruges-La-Morte, which brought back memories of that medieval city — thankfully, no memories of dead loved ones. Upon realizing the French edition had illustrations, I’ve since ordered it to gawk if not to read.

      • Rima Dadenji says:

        Oh and you were nostalgic for Brussels the other day, never read Bruges-La-Morte, and never been to Bruges … but I am fiercely fond of medieval cities.

      • Brad Johnson says:

        Yes, I was. For a variety of reasons, Belgium remains quite dear to me, and I return when I can. It has become over the years a convenient home-base for my European travels.

        Bruges is lovely. Small and provincial, but a delight all the same. It has somehow, in spite of centuries of war and what not, retained its gothic appeal.

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