Look at the Harlequins!
Look at the Harlequins!
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'Look at the harlequins ...Play! Invent the world! Invent reality'. This is the childhood advice given by an aunt to Russian born writer Vadim Vadimovich, who emigrates to England, then Paris, then Germany and then the US, and, now dying, reconstructs his past. He remembers Iris his first wife, Annette his long-necked typist and Bel his daughter, as well as his own bizarre 'numerical nimbus syndrome'.
escorted, or so it seemed, by the baby’s gay approbation. I even agreed to spend most of the summer of 1945 at Rustic Roses. There, one day, as I was returning with Mrs. Langley from the nearest liquor store or newspaper stand, something she said, some intonation or gesture, released in me the passing shudder, the awful surmise, that it was not with my wife but with me that the wretched creature had been in love from the very start. The torturous tenderness I had always felt for Annette gained
there was Ninella, home at last, getting out of her car, with the string-bound corpses of cahiers under her sturdy arm. “Gosh,” said I to myself, in my ignoble euphoria, “there’s something quite nice and cozy about old Ninel after all!” Yet only a few hours later the light of Hell had gone out, and I writhed, I wrung my four limbs, yes, in an agony of insomnia, trying to find some combination between pillow and back, sheet and shoulder, linen and leg, to help me, help me, oh, help me to reach the
Loveland—as we approached the paradise part of Colorado! From Lupine Lodge, Estes Park, where we spent a whole month, a path margined with blue flowers led through aspen groves to what Bel drolly called The Foot of the Face. There was also the Thumb of the Face, at its southern corner. I have a large glossy photograph taken by William Garrell who was the first, I think, to reach The Thumb, in 1940 or thereabouts, showing the East Face of Longs Peak with the checkered lines of ascent superimposed
Louise was in Florence or Florida). With a hovering grin, I noticed and picked up a paperback somebody had left on a seat next to mine in the transit lounge of the Orly airport. I was the mouse of fate on that pleasant June afternoon between a shop of wines and a shop of perfumes. I held in my hands a copy of a Formosan (!) paperback reproduced from the American edition of A Kingdom by the Sea. I had not seen it yet—and preferred not to inspect the pox of misprints that, no doubt, disfigured the
orphan. That’s her grandmother all in black sitting on a spread Cannice-Matin with her knitting. I let smelly gentlemen fondle me. I played indecent games with Ivor—oh nothing very unusual, and anyway he now prefers dons to donnas—at least that’s what he says.” She talked a little about her parents who by a fascinating coincidence had died on the same day, she at seven A.M. in New York, he at noon in London, only two years ago. They had separated soon after the war. She was American and