Étiquettes

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Les premières phrases

«  According to family legend, Ferguson’s grandfather departed on foot from his native city of Minsk with one hundred rubles into the lining of his jacket, traveled west to Hamburg through Warsaw and Berlin, and then booked passage on a ship called the Empress of China, which crossed the Atlantic in rough winter storms and sailed into New York Harbor on the first day of the twentieth century. While waiting to be interviewed by an immigration official at Ellis Island, he struck up a conversation with a fellow Russian Jew. The man said to him: Forget the name Reznikoff. It won’t do you any good here. You need an American name for your new life in America, something with a good American ring to it. Since English was still an alien tongue to Isaac Reznikoff in 1900, he asked his older, more experienced compatriot for a suggestion. Tell them you’re Rockefeller, the man said. You can’t go wrong with that. An hour passed, then another hour, and by the time the nineteen-year-old Reznikoff sat down to be questionned by the immigration official, he had forgotten the name the man had told him to give. Your name? the official asked. Slapping his head in frustration, the weary immigrant blurted out in Yiddish, Ikh hob fargessen (I’ve forgotten)! And so it was that Isaac Reznikoff began his new life in America as Ichabod Ferguson.

He had a hard time of it, especially in the beginning, but even after it was no long the beginning, nothing ever went as he had imagined it would be in his adopted country.  »

Circonstances de lecture

Parce que Paul Auster fait partie de mes auteurs préférés.

Impressions

Le dernier Paul Auster est un pavé de quelque 866 pages… Autant dire qu’il faut avoir une motivation sans faille et une foi inconditionnelle en l’auteur pour se plonger dans « 4 3 2 1 ». Paul Auster y retranscrit l’histoire d’un Américain, petit-fils d’immigrants, de sa naissance en 1947 à son entrée dans la vie adulte dans les années 70, tout en faisant un parallèle avec l’Histoire Américaine de cette partie chargée du 20ème siècle, en particulier la guerre froide, les problèmes de ségrégation raciale et la guerre au Vietnam. Reste que Paul Auster complique encore la chose en nous proposant 4 versions différentes de notre héros, Archie Ferguson (d’où le titre du livre…), selon le chemin qu’il choisit, les rencontres qu’il fait, ou tout simplement le destin plus ou moins tragique de ses proches. Chaque chapitre se divise ainsi en 4, et l’on suit ainsi 4 vies possibles d’Archie. C’est donc une lecture exigeante, mais heureusement passionnante, que nous propose Paul Auster. Venir à bout de ces plus de 800 pages m’aura pris du temps mais je ne le regrette pas (bien qu’il y ait quelques longueurs). La plume de l’auteur y est évidemment pour quelque chose ! Tout comme la retranscription de cette partie de l’histoire américaine.

Un passage parmi d’autres

 The word psyche means two things in Greek, his aunt said. Two very different but interesting things. Butterfly and soul. But when you stop and think about it carefully, butterfly and soul aren’t so different, after all, are they? A butterfly starts out as a caterpillar, an ugly sort of earthbound, wormy thing, and then one day the caterpillar builds a cocoon, and after a certain amount of time the cocoon  opens and out comes the butterfly, the most beautiful creature in the world. That’s what happens to souls as well, Archie. They struggle in the depths of darkness and ignorance, they suffer through trials and misfortunes, and bit by bit they become purified by those sufferings, strengthened by the hard things that happen to them, and one day, if the soul in question is a worthy soul, it will break out of its cocoon and soar through the air like a magnificent butterfly.

Paul Auster – 4 3 2 1 – 2017 (faber & faber)

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