Friday, December 28, 2012

From the long overdue (re)readings (XV)

On the terrace of the Café des Deux Palais, Gabriel, knocking back his fifth grenadine, was holding forth to an assembly whose attention seemed all the greater in that its francophony was more diffuse.
    'Why,' he was saying, 'why should one not tolerate this life, since so little suffices to deprive one of it? So little brings it into being, so little brightens it, so little blights it, so little bears it away. Otherwise, who would tolerate the blows of fate and the humiliations of a successful career, the swindling of grocers, the prices of butchers, the water of milkmen, the irritation of parents, the fury of teachers, the bawling of sergeant-majors, the turpitude of the beats, the lamentations of the dead-beats, the silence of infinite space, the smell of cauliflower or the passivity of the wooden horses on a merry-go-round, were it not for his knowledge that the bad and proliferative behaviour of certain minute cells (gesture) or the trajectory of a bullet traced by an involuntary, irresponsible, anonymous individual might unexpectedly come and cause all these cares to evaporate into the blue of the heavens. I, who now address you, have many times orientated my thoughts toward these problems while, dressed in a tutu, I expose to cretins like you my naturally fairly hirsute it must be admitted but professionally epilated thighs. I should add that if you so desire you can be present at this spectacle this very evening.'
   'Hurrah!' cried the travellers confidently.
   'Well Ida know Unkoo, trade's getting better and better.'

Raymond Queneau, Zazie in the Metro (1959), trans. Barbara Wright (1960). Penguin, 2001. p. 95.

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