Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud at The Missing Slate

April 25th, 2015 § 0 comments

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The Missing Slate, a Pakistan-based online litmag “for the discerning metropolitan,” was created with intent to uphold free speech irrespective of geography, political or religious affiliations.

Our goal is simple: honor talent and incorporate as many styles, opinions and cultures as possible. The magazine is a “borderless” one with a culturally and intellectually diverse team that believes if art can’t be quantified, it can’t be mapped either.

They were awesome enough to feature a a deep cut from the Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud archives: the first story from his first collection, the 1973 triptych entitled Le Fou dans la chaloupe [The Madman in the Rowboat]. “His Final Pages” is a Borgesian mindbender, and a fitting meditation on mortality from a writer who, even as an young man, was concerned with an old man’s questions of death, debility, and the writing life, and the hollowness of success. Here’s an excerpt:

This much I have always known: to write is a disgrace. Don’t they know, who boast of it naively, that in every age it has mainly drawn the weak and mediocre, the spineless, eccentric, and effeminate, who found no other fitting activity? A man sound of mind and body does not write; he acts on, delights in, the real. Blessed are they who forget—screwdriver, bazooka, or slide rule in hand—the ulcerous idleness of the universe, which unveils itself upon the slightest inspection. When I was thirty, the air that seemed to intoxicate everyone else gave me no joy to breathe. I was waiting for that illness to declare itself, the illness that would save me: a book.

Widely known in his native France, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud (1947- ) has been honored over a career of almost 40 years with the Prix Renaudot, the Prix Goncourt de la nouvelle, and the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire at Utopiales. He has been published in Conjunctions, The Harvard Review, The Southern Review, Words Without Borders, AGNI Online, Epiphany, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Postscripts, Eleven Eleven, Sentence, Joyland, Confrontation, The Brooklyn Rail, Liquid Imagination, Podcastle, and The Café Irreal, as well as the anthologies Exotic Gothic 5 (PS Publishing, 2013) and XO Orpheus (Penguin, 2013). His volume of selected stories, A Life on Paper (Small Beer, 2010), won the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award and was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award. His work has been compared to that of Kafka, Borges, Calvino, Cortazar, Isak Dinesen, and Steven Millhauser.

Like it? Consider buying Châteaureynaud’s volume of Selected Stories, A Life on Paper!

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