Biblio Alessandro Baricco City

ISBN 13 : 9780375411427

City

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9780375411427: City

Book by Baricco Alessandro

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Prologue

"So, Mr. Klauser, should Mami Jane die?"

"Screw them all."

"Is that a yes or a no?"

"What do you think?"

In October of 1987, CRB--the company that for twenty-two years had published the adventures of the mythical Ballon Mac--decided to take a poll of its readers to determine whether Mami Jane ought to die. Ballon Mac was a blind superhero who worked as a dentist by day and at night battled Evil, using the special powers of his saliva. Mami Jane was his mother. The readers were, in general, very fond of her: she collected Indian scalps and at night she performed as a bassist in a blues band whose other members were black. She was white. The idea of killing her off had come from the sales manager of CRB--a placid man who had a single passion: toy trains. He maintained that at this point Ballon Mac was on a dead-end track and needed new inspiration. The death of his mother--hit by a train as she fled a paranoid switchman--would transform him into a lethal mixture of rage and grief, that is, the exact image of his average reader. The idea was idiotic. But then so was the average reader of Ballon Mac.

So, in October of 1987, CRB cleared out a room on the second floor and set up eight young women there to answer the telephones and tabulate readers' opinions. The question was: Should Mami Jane die?

Of the eight young women, four were employees of CRB, two had been sent by the unemployment office, and one was the granddaughter of the company president. The last, a woman of about thirty, from Pomona, was there because she'd won an internship by getting the correct answer on a radio quiz ("What is the thing that Ballon Mac hates most in the world?" "Scraping off tartar"). She had a small tape recorder that she always carried with her. Every so often she turned it on and said something into it.

Her name was Shatzy Shell.

At 10:45 on the twelfth day of the voting--when the death of Mami Jane was winning by 64 percent to 30 (the remaining 6 percent maintained that they should all go to hell, and had called to say so)--Shatzy Shell heard the phone ring for the twenty-first time that day, wrote on the form she had in front of her the number 21, and picked up the receiver. The following conversation ensued:

"CRB, good morning."

"Good morning, is Diesel there yet?"

"Who?"

"OK, he's not there yet..."

"This is CRB, sir."

"Yes, I know."

"You must have the wrong number."

"No, no, it's all right. Now listen to me..."

"Sir..."

"Yes?"

"This is CRB. It's the poll 'Should Mami Jane die?'"

"Thanks, I know that."

"Then would you please give me your name?"

"It doesn't matter what my name is..."

"You have to give it to me, it's the procedure."

"OK, OK, Gould...my name is Gould."

"Mr. Gould."

"Yes, Mr. Gould, now if I can..."

"Should Mami Jane die?"

"What?"

"You're supposed to tell me what you think...should Mami Jane die or not?"

"Oh, Jesus..."

"Do you actually know? Who Mami Jane is?"

"Of course I know, but..."

"You see, all you have to do is tell me if you think that..."

"Please, listen to me for a moment?"

"Of course."

"Then do me a favor and take a look around."

"Me?"

"Yes."

"Here?"

"Yes, there, in the room, please do me this one favor."

"OK, I'm looking."

"Good. Do you by any chance see a guy with a shaved head who's holding the hand of a big guy, and I mean big, a kind of giant, with enormous shoes and a green jacket?"

"No, I don't think so."

"You're sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Good. Then they haven't arrived yet."

"No."

"OK, then I want you to know something."

"Yes?"

"They aren't bad guys."

"No?"

"No. When they get there they'll start smashing everything up, and it's likely that they'll grab your telephone cord and twist it around your neck, or something like that, but they're not bad guys, really, it's only that..."

"Mr. Gould..."

"Yes?"

"Would you mind telling me how old you are?"

"Thirteen."

"Thirteen?"

"Twelve...to be exact, twelve."

"Listen, Gould, is your mother around?"

"My mother left four years ago, and now she lives with a professor who studies fish, the habits of fish, an ethologist, to be precise."

"I'm sorry."

"You don't have to be sorry. Life is like that, you can't do anything about it."

"Really?"

"Really. Don't you think so?"

"YesI guess...I don't know exactly, I imagine it's that way."

"It is that way, unfortunately."

"You're twelve, right?"

"Tomorrow I'll be thirteen, tomorrow."

"Splendid."

"Splendid."

"Happy birthday, Gould."

"Thank you."

"You'll see, it's splendid to be thirteen."

"I hope so."

"Congratulations, truly."

"Thank you."

"Your father's not around, is he?"

"No, he's at work."

"Of course."

"My father works for the Army."

"Splendid."

"Is everything always so splendid for you?"

"What?"

"Is everything always so splendid for you?"

"Yes...I think so."

"Splendid."

"That is...it often happens, yes."

"You're lucky."

"It also happens at the oddest moments."

"I think you really are lucky."

"Once I was at a cafeteria, on Route 16, just outside of town, I stopped at a cafeteria, I went in and got in line, and behind the counter there was a Vietnamese man, who could barely understand a word, so nothing was moving, you know, someone would say to him, A hamburger, and he'd say What?, maybe it was his first day of work, I don't know, so I started looking around, in the cafeteria. There were five or six tables, and people were eating, so many different faces and each face with something different in front of it, a pizza, a sandwich, a bowl of chili, they were all eating, and they were all dressed exactly how they wanted to dress, they'd gotten up in the morning and chosen something to put on, the red shirt, or the dress tight across the tits, exactly what they wanted, and now they were there, and each of them had a life behind and a life ahead, they were just passing through there, and tomorrow they'd do it all again from the beginning, the blue shirt, the long dress, and surely the blonde with freckles had a mother in the hospital, with all the blood tests really bad, but there she was, pushing aside the French fries with black spots, reading a newspaper propped against a gas pump-shaped salt shaker, there was a guy in a baseball shirt, who for sure had not been on a baseball field in years, he was sitting there with his son, just a kid, and he kept cuffng him on the head, on the back of the head, and every time the boy readjusted his cap, a baseball cap, and click, another cuff, and throughout all this never stopping eating, under a TV hanging on the wall, screen blank, the noise coming in from the highway in gusts, and sitting in a corner two men, very refined-looking, in gray suits, and you could see one of the two was crying, it was absurd, but he was crying, over steak and potatoes, he was crying silently, and the other didn't bat an eye, he had a steak in front of him, too, he was just eating, that's all, only, at one point he got up, went over to the next table, took the ketchup bottle, went back to his seat, and, very careful not to spill on his gray suit, poured a little on the other guy's plate, the one who was crying, and whispered something, I don't know what, then he put the top back on the bottle and started eating again, those two in the corner, and everything else around, a black cherry ice cream cone trampled on the floor, and on the bathroom door a sign saying "Out of Order"--I looked at all that and it was clear that the only thing you could think was How disgusting, folks, something so sad it would make you puke, and instead what happened was that while I was standing there in line and the Vietnamese guy kept on not getting a damn thing, I thought Lord, how lovely, with even a sort of desire to laugh, My goodness, how nice all this is, all of it, down to the last crumb crushed into the floor, the last greasy napkin, without knowing why, but knowing that it was true, it was all amazingly nice. Absurd, isn't it?"

"Strange."

"I'm sorry to have gone on about it."

"Why?"

"I don't know... people don't usually talk about things like that

"I liked it."

"Come on..."

"No, really, especially the part about the ketchup..."

"He grabbed the bottle and poured some out onto..."

"Yes."

"Dressed all in gray."

"Funny."

"Right."

"Right."

"Gould?"

"Yes."

"I'm glad you called."

"Hey, no, wait..."

"I'm still here."

"What's your name?"

"Shatzy."

"Shatzy."

"My name is Shatzy Shell."

"Shatzy Shell."

"Yes."

"And there's no one there wrapping the telephone cord around your neck, right?"

"No."

"You'll remember, when they get there, that they're not bad?"

"You'll see, they won't come."

"Don't count on it, they'll get there..."

"Why is that, Gould?"

"Diesel adores Mami Jane. And he is seven feet six inches tall."

"Splendid."

"Depends. When he's very angry it's not at all splendid."

"And now he's very angry?"

"You would be, too, if they were taking a poll on whether to kill Mami Jane, and Mami Jane was your ideal mother."

"It's only a poll, Gould."

"Diesel says it's all a trick. He says they already decided months ago that they would kill her off, and they're only doing this for show."

"Maybe he's wrong."

"Diesel is never wrong. He's a giant."

"How giant?"

"Very."

"I was once with a guy who could slam-dunk without even standing on tiptoe."

"Really?"

"But his job was taking tickets in a movie theater."

"And did you love him?"

"What sort of question is that, Gould?"

"You said you were with him."

"Yes, we were together. We were together for twenty-two days."

"And then?"

"I don't know...it was all sort of complicated, you know what I mean?"

"Yes...For Diesel, too, it's all sort of complicated."

"That's how it is."

"His father had a toilet made specially for him--it cost him a fortune."

"I told you, it's all sort of complicated."

"Yes. When Diesel tried to go to school, down in Taton, he arrived one morning..."

"Gould?"

"Yes?"

"Excuse me a moment, Gould."

"OK."

"Stay on the line, OK?"

"OK."

Shatzy Shell put Gould on hold. Then she turned to the man who was standing in front of her desk, looking at her. It was the head of the department of development and promotion. His name was Bellerbaumer. He was one of those people who suck on the eyepiece of their glasses.

"Mr. Bellerbaumer?"

Mr. Bellerbaumer cleared his throat.

"Miss Shell, you are talking about giants."

"Exactly."

"You have been on the telephone for twelve minutes and you are talking about giants."

"Twelve minutes?"

"Yesterday you talked happily for twenty-seven minutes with a stockbroker who at the end made you a proposal of marriage."

"He didn't know who Mami Jane was, I had to..."

"And the day before you were on that telephone for an hour and eleven minutes correcting the homework of a wretched little boy who then gave you as his answer 'Why not do in Ballon Mac?'"

"It's an idea. You might think about it."

"Miss Shell, that telephone is the property of CRB, and you are paid to say only one goddam sentence: Should Mami Jane die?"

"I'm trying to do my best."

"So am I. And so I am going to fire you, Miss Shell."

"Excuse me?"

"I am compelled to let you go, Miss Shell."

"You're serious?"

"I'm sorry."

"..."

"..."

"..."

"..."

"Mr. Bellerbaumer?"

"Yes."

"Would you mind if I finish my phone call?"

"What phone call?"

"The phone call. There's a boy on the line, who's on hold."

"..."

"..."

"Finish your phone call."

"Thank you."

Quatrième de couverture :

«D'abord le titrer. Une ville. Pas une ville précise. Plutôt l'empreinte d'une ville quelconque. Son squelette. Je pensais aux histoires que j'avais dans la tête comme à des quartiers. Et j'imaginais des personnages qui étaient des rues, et qui certaines fois commençaient et mouraient dans un quartier, d'autres fois traversaient la ville entière, accumulant des quartiers et des mondes qui n'avaient rien à voir les uns avec lkes autres et qui pourtant étaient la même ville. Je voulais écrire un livre qui bouge comme quelqu'un qui se perd dans une ville.Des personnages - des rues - il y en a beaucoup : il y a un coiffeur qui le jeudi coupe les cheveux gratis, il y en a un qui est un géant, un autre qui est muet. Il y a un petit garçon qui s'appelle Gould, et une fille qui s'appelle Shatzy Shell (rien à voir avec celui de l'essence). Il y a aussi dans City deux quartiers, assez vastes, un peu décalés en arrière dans le temps. Il y a une histoire de boxe, et il y a un western. Le western, c'est quelque chose à quoi je pensais depuis des années. J'étais toujours là à essayer de m'imaginer comment diable on pouvait bien faire pour écrire la fussillade finale. Quant à la boxe, là c'est un monde dingue, superbe. Si en plus tu es qulqu'un qui écrit, tôt ou tard tu y viens. Mieux vaut tôt, me suis-je dit.»Alessandro Baricco.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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Baricco, Alessandro
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Baricco, Alessandro
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Description du livre Hardcover. État : New. Ships From Canada. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 336 p. Vintage International. Audience: General/trade. Book Description From the author of the international bestseller Silk ( A riveting, lyrical love story Alan Cheuse, NPR) and the acclaimed Ocean Sea ( Astonishing.vividly erotic Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times) comes an entirely new species of fiction: a panoramic Cartesian comic book of a novel with superheroes, boxers, cowboys, and one bed-wetting prodigy expected to win the Nobel Prize. Baricco s wildly inventive story, set in the United States, describes the improbable relationship between two untethered souls: Gould, a thirteen-year-old genius, and Shatzy Shell, his thirtysomething governess. Except for each other, they abide beyond human connection, each in a private world of serial imagination: in Shatzy s case, the violent Wild West show she has been improvising into a tape recorder since the age of six; in Gould s, the mock-heroic tale of an unde. N° de réf. du libraire 9153882386

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Goldstein, Ann; Baricco, Alessandro
Edité par Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A.: Alfred a Knopf Inc (2002)
ISBN 10 : 0375411429 ISBN 13 : 9780375411427
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Description du livre Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A.: Alfred a Knopf Inc, 2002. Hardcover. État : New. Etat de la jaquette : New. 1st Edition. Book Description From the author of the international bestseller Silk (“A riveting, lyrical love story” —Alan Cheuse, NPR) and the acclaimed Ocean Sea (“Astonishing . . . vividly erotic”—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times) comes an entirely new species of fiction: a panoramic Cartesian comic book of a novel—with superheroes, boxers, cowboys, and one bed-wetting prodigy expected to win the Nobel Prize. Baricco’s wildly inventive story, set in the United States, describes the improbable relationship between two untethered souls: Gould, a thirteen-year-old genius, and Shatzy Shell, his thirtysomething governess. Except for each other, they abide beyond human connection, each in a private world of serial imagination: in Shatzy’s case, the violent Wild West show she has been improvising into a tape recorder since the age of six; in Gould’s, the mock-heroic tale of an underdog boxer, which the boy tells to his imaginary friends, a giant and a mute. With the narrative logic of a comic strip, City’s quicksilver prose flows unpredictably between the whimsy of childhood conjuring and the serpentine realm of metaphysics, cunningly reminding us how the imaginings of children can harbor the stuff of tragedy, while the grandest ideas of adults are often strictly for kids. By turns hilarious and deeply sad, City is an American original, penned by a brilliant Italian. From the Back Cover “Filled with wild invention and lyrical prose . . . Conventional characters and superheroes alike behave with the wild abandon we have come to recognize in the novels of Thomas Pynchon, Don De Lillo and Robert Coover. City is simultaneously hilarious and profoundly sad.” --Sanford Pinsker, Washington Post Book World “An imaginative, surprisingly poignant Italian reinvention of what has become a staple of American teen fiction: the saga of marginalized members of society who find comfort in each other.” --Beth Warrell, Booklist “Baricco has inventiveness in spades, and his freaks have the capacity to chill the blood or warm the heart.” --Jane Ciabattari, Los Angeles Times Book Review About the Author Alessandro Baricco was born in Turin in 1958. The author of three previous novels, he has won the Prix Médicis étranger in France and the Selezione Campiello, Viareggio, and Palazzo del Bosco prizes in Italy. His third novel, Silk, became an immediate best-seller in Italy and has been translated into twenty-seven languages. It is the basis of a forthcoming opera by André Previn and a film to be produced by Miramax. N° de réf. du libraire ABE-936951395

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