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Wednesdays with Romain Gary – Part One

January 15, 2014 19 comments

Gary_LecturesAs I mentioned in my Let’s read Romain Gary billet, we’re going to wait until May for the Romain Gary Literature Month with a weekly quote from one of his books. For our first week, I picked up a quote from Adieu Gary Cooper that makes me laugh. Lenny is the hero of the book, he’s an American ski bum who skies his butt out to forget about himself and his American origin. He stays in the Swiss Alps with other pathological skiers and he has funny ways with the language. When you read Adieu Gary Cooper, you can see that this one and La vie devant soi have been written by the same author. But back to Lenny. We’re in the 1960s, so they experience drugs:

L.S.D., un sale truc, Lenny s’était embarqué la-dedans une fois, mais tout ce qu’il avait vu, c’était la même chose, seulement en technicolor, et le seul moment différent fut lorsque sa verge s’était détachée de lui, avait mis son anorak et pris ses skis, et il s’était mis à hurler et à courir pour les rattraper, il tenait à ses skis comme à la prunelle de ses yeux. Se faire voler comme ça par l’un des siens…On ne peut vraiment plus compter sur personne. L.S.D., nasty stuff. Lenny had tried once but the only thing he had seen had been the same as usual, only in Technicolor. The only different moment was when his penis had detached itself from him, put on his anorak and taken his skis. He had started to yell and run after them, he wouldn’t give his skis for the world. To be robbed like this by your family…Really, no one could be trusted. (my tentative translation)

The English version of Adieu Gary Cooper is entitled The Ski Bum. I’ve read both books and I’m afraid that the English version is a bit toned down compared to the French. It’s definitely not a translation as the passage I translated earlier is not in The Ski Bum. So, here is now a quote from The Ski Bum.

Albert Camus, prophet of the absurd getting killed in an absurd automobile crash, which proves he was wrong and that there is some inner logic in life.

See you next week!

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