Andreï Makine, Franz Werfel, Paweł Huelle, Mary Oliver

De Franse schrijver van Russische afkomst Andreï Makine werd geboren in Krasnojarsk op 10 september 1957. Zie ook mijn blog van 10 september 2010. en eveneens alle tags voor Andreï Makine op dit blog.

 

Uit: Dreams of My Russian Summers (Le Testament français, vertaald door Geoffrey Strachan)

 

„While still a child, I guessed that this very singular smile represented a strange little victory for each of the women: yes, a fleeting revenge for disappointed hopes, for the coarseness of men, for the rareness of beautiful and true things in this world. Had I known how to say it at the time I would have called this way of smiling “femininity.”…But my language was too concrete in those days. I contented myself with studying the women’s faces in our photograph albums and identifying this glow of beauty in some of them.

For these women knew that in order to be beautiful, what they must do several seconds before the flash blinded them was to articulate the following mysterious syllables in French, of which few understood the meaning: “pe-tite-pomme.”…As if by magic, the mouth, instead of being extended in counterfeit bliss, or contracting into an anxious grin, would form a gracious round. The whole face was thus transfigured. The eyebrows arched slightly, the oval of the cheeks was elongated. You said “petite pomme,” and the shadow of a distant and dreamy sweetness veiled your gaze, refined your features, and caused the soft light of bygone days to hover over the snapshot.

This photographic spell had won the confidence of the most diverse women: for example, a relative from Moscow in the only color photo in our albums. Married to a diplomat, she spoke through clenched teeth and sighed with boredom before even hearing you out. But in the photo I could immediately identify the “petite pomme” effect.

I observed its aura on the face of a dull provincial woman, some anonymous aunt, whose name only came up when the conversation turned to the women left without husbands after the male slaughter of the last war. Even Glasha, the peasant of the family, in the rare photos that we still possessed of her, displayed the miraculous smile. Finally there was a whole swarm of young girl cousins, puffing out their lips while trying to hold on to this elusive French magic during several interminable seconds of posing. As they murmured their “petite pomme,” they still believed that the life that lay ahead would be woven uniquely from such moments of grace…. „

 

Andreï Makine (Krasnojarsk, 10 september 1957)

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