Fences in Breathing

Fences in Breathing

Nicole Brossard

Language: English

Pages: 120

ISBN: 1552452131

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

Invited to a quiet Swiss château by the enigmatic Tatiana Beaujeu Lehmann, Anne begins to slowly write a novel in a language that is not hers, a language that makes meaning foreign and keeps her alert to the world and its fiery horizon.

Will the strange intoxication that takes hold of her and her characters – sculptor Charles; his sister Kim, about to leave for the far north; and Laure Ravin, a lawyer obsessed with the Patriot Act – allow her to break through the darkness of the world?

Fences in Breathing, first published and critically lauded in French as La capture du sombre, and now brought into English by the celebrated translator Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood, is a disquieting, dexterous and defiant missive, another triumph by one of North America's foremost practitioners of innovative writing.

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intensely, all this was about to be neutralized, changed into invisible strips of ribbon spiralling above our lives. Ancient languages were translated less and less frequently, as though they had become unfit to reflect the world. Everywhere, egos tossed and turned counter-clockwise. The nature of time itself was changing. That’s how it is. Nobody understands anything anymore about events that a mere five years ago were considered commonplace and familiar. On this side of the lake, everything is

Tatiana had me read an article entitled ‘Could humans coexist, form a community in a society that had a legislative system but no code of ethics?’ The question leaves me thinking. Therein lies a fissure in meaning that distresses me, that threatens my integrity, so I prefer to believe that in the end, life will once again win out, rough, warm. Half truth, half fiction. § As usual, the café is empty. An unknown woman is sitting at the back of the room. She is writing or taking notes, who knows.

indicators, pendant watches, hunting-cased watches, dress watches, aviators’ wristwatches, ladies’ bracelet watches, gentlemen’s watches. She touches them, rewinds the ones whose mechanisms she is familiar with, marvels, tries to imagine the why of so much research, of such refinement and beauty. All these wheels, all these bridges, these screws, these pins, these hands, these springs, assembled to tempt us into a fascination with time. Once a year, Tatiana goes into town to see the mother of all

for a while. She has a strong accent. June asks about the publisher. ‘Very well, she is very well,’ says the stranger before exiting. Seen from the back, the woman reminds her of Ava Gardner. June phones Kim to invite her to watch Atanarjuat, which she just received. This afternoon, she will go downtown to buy A Woman’s Voyage to Spitsbergen by Léonie d’Aunet. Kim wants to know everything about Svalbard. June provides her with everything she desires. § I am calm, though not exactly quiet. The

shape of the armoire-in-progress becomes more definite, when the wood curls up, splits into chips and angel hair. His bedroom is his workshop. To leave the house, Kim must cross the room where the knives are. On the other side of Kim’s room is the kitchen. In order to eat, Charles must walk through Kim’s room. He always does this slowly, counting his steps and staring either at the floor or at the ceiling, for one day he will want to carve one or the other into a dome, or a tombstone. § ‘We

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