“I’ve invented lives. The man with the drum never told me about himself. I wove a story from his gnarled hands and his bent back. He mumbled to himself in an ancient, distant language. I acted like I knew all about him. The man I invented – I loved him. And the other lives I embellished. I wanted to see the beauty; I wanted to create it. Change the nature of things – I don’t want to name them – so that I see only the embers that still burn in the hearts of the first inhabitants.”
Naomi Fontaine’s Kuessipan Translated by David Homel (Arsenal Pulp, 2013)
“To come up face to face against the real person – whose face will never appear to you as you envisioned it – is to come up against and interrogate your own imagination and discover through cross-examination how true or how false you’ve been to this person, to the past, and to yourself. The ramifications are serious, no matter how elusive. Perhaps, more truthfully, I hoped I wouldn’t actually find her and force her to become real once again. Who you imagine others to be reflects on who you imagine yourself to be.”
Have elements of your reading life aligned in curious ways recently? Or are you one of those dedicated readers, who have only a single book on your current stack, so that collisions like this rarely occur?