Friday, 12 July 2013

Book review: Christian Bobin's 'Un assassin blanc comme neige'

When I was in Metz a few months ago, a trip to the bookshop resulted in a slight shopping spree as to be expected. I picked up this title without knowing what to expect, intrigued by the cover, the title and to be quite honest, the large fonts inside. 

It's not an easy read. While it's quite short, the book is like poetry in prose form. The imagery described is so profound and has such symbolism that you have to read it twice or thrice to feel like you have understood its meaning. 

That being said, there is no story. At first, it seemed like a diary of crumbles of life that had an impact on the writer. However, as you read on, it seems more like a collection of thoughts and ideas, some contained in only one sentence. 

It's trully beautiful though and I felt so much satisfaction when I found some of my own thoughts printed in black and white in beautiful french, thoughts I maybe wouldn't have been as brave as to formulate even in my mind but they are universal truths that we either don't see or don't know how to express. 

I'll leave you with a few extracts that have really impressed me, so you can get a feel of the book:

'La modernite est une guerre menee contre la vie dont l'issue ne fait aucun doute: les ames sont trop anciennes pour pouvoir mourir un jour.'
'Modernity is a battle against life whose outcome is uncontestable: souls are too old to be able to die in one day.'

'En une seconde je sais ce que pourrait connaintre un lievre qui - pousse par cette panique qui arrondit toujours ses yeux - traverserait sans s'y arreter cette jungle odorante : il ne prendrait conscience qu'apres en etre sorti d'avoir ete au paradis des lievres.'

'In one second, I can know what a rabbit will feel when, driven by the panic that always dilates its' eyes, it will have crossed this perfumed jungle without stopping: it is only after it left that it will be aware of having been in the rabbits' paradise.' 

'Il y a sans doute quelque part dans le ciel un cimetiere des nuages. Comme ses tombes doivent etre merveilleuses!'

'No doubt there is a cemetery for clouds somewhere in the skies. How magnificent must their tombs be!'

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