When A Lady Shakes Hands With A Gentleman—Prose/1982—Mark Insingel / Claude Ollier / Gertud Leutenegger/ Nikolai Bokov
Hardback/ 95 pages/ISBN 978-0-87376-038-6
When A Lady Shakes Hands With A Gentleman
“(You don’t have to accept it as true, you are not obliged to see it (it isn’t being thrown into our teeth), you need not have anything to do with it (go into it) it can’t frighten you at all (the chances are much too small), you can dream about it (wet dreams—nightmares), you can actually have a cozy chat about it.)”
from When A Lady Shakes Hands With A Gentleman by Mark Insingel
Nocturne, The Station, The Keeper’s House by Claude Ollier
Claude Ollier is the author of more than fifteen books, including novels, plays and criticism. He lives in Maule, France. Despite being one of the major forces behind the nouveau roman and despite decades of critical success in his native France, Claude Ollier is virtually unknown in the United States.
“I climb up through the trees. My foot slips on the pine needles, on the tawny yellow earth and on the clumps of moss. Whenever the slope steepens, my foot hands suspended for a moment, hesitantly seeking some hollow to lodge itself in. When it finds one, it edges in cautiously and shuffles the loose pebbles to get a firmer hold. The upward thrust is now insured. The knee flexes, the hamstring slackens, the whole body leans forward in the next stride… A little higher up, etched against the sky, there is the contour of a ridge, of a line of ground that looks like a ridge, or the edge of another shelf. Yes, it’s a shelf. I’m still on the same slope: the line has disintegrated, blotted out by a curtain of trees.”
From Nocturne by Claude Ollier
The Ninth Street by Gertrud Leutenegger
Gertrud Leutenegger was born in 1948 in Schwyz, and studied directing at Zurich’s prestigious Theatre Academy. She spent many years in the French and Italian-speaking parts of Switzerland and currently lives in Zurich.
The Ninth Street is from the novel Vorabend (on the eve) a novel of 11 chapters. A girl has agreed to take part in a demonstration that could be dangerous. The night before she walks the streets of Zurich. The Ninth Street explores her thoughts as she walks—school, first love, and the death of her father.
“Does no one ever die in the city? One could walk for weeks, for years through a city believing that death no longer existed. Only ambulances with their blind panes shrill more and more frequently through the streets. Not that death is something singular. Not that death should absorb us totally. But there is habit: lying down at night and wondering whether we shall drift from sleep into light. How will the skin between the knuckles, through which the sun gleams, look when we are dead?”
from The Ninth Street
Vasenka, The Ultimate Argument, Dolgorukov Unmasked, Death in the Wasteland
Nikolai Bokov was born in 1945. A former Samizdat writer and the author of the novel, Nobody, that was published anonymously by John Calder in 1975 shortly after he immigrated to France from the then Soviet Union. He published widely in the Russian émigré press and in translation into English, French and German. Bokov edited the avant-garde Russian literary journal Kovcheg in Paris from 1978 through1981. He subsequently abandoned literature and took to the road for several years. He began writing again in the mid-1990s and was awarded the Delmas Prize in 2001.
Bokov’s writing is a masterful expression of satire, and a direct, yet elegant, language that recalls both Bely and Gogol.
“Nine years ago Sergei Petrovich committed a crime. He wrecked a monument to the great Bestiev… The difficultly lay in the fact that Dogorukov had a perfect alibi: on the day that the monument in Passim Square was destroyed he had been out picking mushrooms. They even found witnesses to testify to this. His wife had been out with him, whilst his neighbor, Proharchuk, had dropped in afterwards to nibble on a mushroom or two….Here Sergei Dolgorukov should have confessed all! Repented! But he was overwhelmed by… a moment while I look in the dictionary for the appropriate pre-Revolutionary Church-Slavonic phrase…he was overwhelmed by pride.”
from Dolgorukov Unmasked