Quite appropriately, I've decided to read Edouard Levé's Suicide as a follow up to Myth of Sisyphus. I was turned on to Levé's work a little late in the game after reading "When I Look at a Strawberry, I Think of a Tongue" in this season's issue of The Paris Review. However, I caught on just in time to enjoy the recent English translation of Suicide. I found this passage could serve as a good example of the deep meditations his somewhat discursive style of writing is capable of evoking. Albeit fiction, it's in second person, addressed to his deceased friend who has taken his own life:
You used to read dictionaries like other people read novels. Each entry is a character, you'd say, who might be encountered on some other page. Plots, many of them, would form during any random reading. The story changes according to the order in which the entries are read. A dictionary resembles the world more than a novel does, because the world is not a coherent sequence of actions but a constellation of things perceived. It is looked at, unrelated things congregate, and geographic proximity gives them meaning. If events follow each other, they are believed to be a story. But in a dictionary, time doesn't exist: ABC is neither more nor less chronological than BCA. To portray your life in order would be absurd: I remember you at random. My brain resurrects you through stochastic details, like picking marbles out of a bag.
- Levé, Suicide 34