A Visit with Châteaureynaud: Part 1 of 3

March 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud drives an old, navy, four-door Mercedes C220, which was easy to spot among the Renaults and the Opels massed in traffic at the RER station on a rainy Wednesday rush hour. We shook hands when I got in, and he warned me not to slam the door. In an attempt to pry the passenger side mirror off years ago, a would-be thief had damaged the housing, which a series of mechanics had never managed to re-attach more lastingly than with masking tape.

Châteaureynaud had just come from signing 300 press copies of his latest book, a memoir of his early life from Grasset, entitled La vie nous regarde passer [Life Watches Us Go By].

“I lost fifteen copies,” he said. “I left them in the metro. The stockroom did a good job sealing the box up really tight, so instead of trying to open it, the police have probably blown it up by now.”

“It’s one way to spread the word… or words,” I said.

“Yes… you could say that book really burst onto the scene!”

Châteaureynaud’s latest work of fiction, Résidence dernière [Final Residence], had come out a few weeks earlier from Les Éditions des Busclats, a small press founded by poet René Char’s daughter, Marie-Claude, and her partner, critic Michèle Gazier. Since 2007’s De l’autre côté d’Alice [Through a Looking Glass Darkly]—three adult meditations on popular children’s heroes Alice, Peter Pan, and Pinocchio—Châteaureynaud had been experimenting with thematically linked triptychs of short stories.  The tales in Résidence dernière, featuring a decrepit sphinx, a magic mirror, and a nightmarish limbo, revolve around writer’s retreats, examining such typically Castelreynaldian themes as solitude, the anxiety of creation, and the writing life. I thought the final, title story among the finest he’d written. In it, a number of aging writers, worrying over posterity, find themselves on a bus headed for a mysterious residency. » Read the rest of this entry «

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