Maurice Pons: A Literary Pilgrimage now at Tin House

August 9th, 2011 § 0 comments

“Is this how you pictured the world of Maurice Pons?”asked a Paris-based Colombian filmmaker. We were walking through an evening light that seemed, in the long summer day, not to have changed since early afternoon. It fell in shafts, where gnats danced, past a canopy of leaves onto the gravel path that led uphill toward dinner. A turtled rowboat, an abandoned tennis court… As we rose, the far bank unfurled its golden fields of shorn wheat; the placid Seine, a hundred kilometers downstream from Paris on its way to the sea, only added to the idyll.

“No,” I replied. “I didn’t think it would be this beautiful.”

Inside the millhouse, glass panels have replaced fallen-through patches of plaster flooring, giving vertiginous views of the great wheel hoisted from the green waters below. A steeply peaked roof supervises eclectic decoration—oil murals, copper cookware, chairs of sizeable sag and faded upholstery; a round cushion of brown velour tossed on a massive original millstone turns it into a seventies modernist sofa fit for a sunken living room. At every hour of the day, light bathes a blond wood baby grand by the window.

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