From Book 4: Domnine

I understand that Paule Thévenin’s daughter Domnine is still alive. This section is offered with respect and affection.             “Do you know what Artaud is doing now?” Breton told me. “He is learning his ABCs.”             “What?” “He feared he could not write anymore, and he said this to Paule Thévenin and her husband inContinue reading “From Book 4: Domnine”

From Book 3: Aube

I understand Aube Elléouët-Breton still lives in Paris. This fictional section is offered in respect and affection. It is October, 1937 and Jacqueline Lamba has quarreled with her husband and left Paris for a time, leaving Aube with her father.             Artaud was still lecturing in Mexico City, and Louis was preoccupied with his upcomingContinue reading “From Book 3: Aube”

From Book 2: What Does Rrose Selavy Look Like?

            After the ruckus had spilled into the street, I went backstage to say something to Artaud—I didn’t know what, something encouraging, comforting. But he was already talking to André Breton, and I heard the other side of the Youki story. Artaud listened sympathetically as Breton, who knew that Artaud and Desnos were still goodContinue reading “From Book 2: What Does Rrose Selavy Look Like?”

From Book 1: Rrose Selavy

            Over supper Desnos was enough entertainment for all of us, making up outrageous stories on the spot, encouraging us to drink more wine and then making us laugh until it was painful. However, some of his tales horrified my family as the poet related his involvement in the high jinks of Dada, the movementContinue reading “From Book 1: Rrose Selavy”

From Book 4: Trotsky and Nusch

Author’s note: I really, really mourn Nusch Éluard, too. She was Marvelous. Writing this novel series about Artaud and Desnos has led me to love – and to mourn – so many other people: André Breton (though I’m conflicted about him), Benjamin Péret, Paul Éluard, Picasso, Cocteau, Jacques Prével, Paule Thévenin, Jean Paulhan who alsoContinue reading “From Book 4: Trotsky and Nusch”

From Book 3: Fisher of Men

            “Read here,” Breton said, pointing out a passage. “I never know what he’s talking about, but I think it might mean something to you.” I read it out loud:             The Time has come when the Son and the Holy Ghost will enter into conflict and destroy each other to permit the disappearance ofContinue reading “From Book 3: Fisher of Men”

From Book 3: Allons-y!

         In the spring of 1932, Breton was exerting more control over an ever-younger coterie, guiding the group’s activities and dominating the discussions. Yet, this did not appear to be entirely his choice. At the Prophete, Justine and I overheard him snarl in a corner to Tristan Tzara (“that Hungarian homunculus shaped like an anarchist’s bomb,”Continue reading “From Book 3: Allons-y!”

From Book Three: Dali

            I did an about-face and entered the Select, hoping to see Louis. He wasn’t there, and because it was cold outside no tables inside were open. I leaned against the crowded counter next to a young stranger and ordered a cappuccino. As I lifted my cup, a high-pitched, maniacal scream burst from the lipsContinue reading “From Book Three: Dali”

From Book 3: Our Hobourgeois Needs Help

            While staring into space at Louis’s table in the Dôme one day Artaud’s eyes happened to focus on Genica Athanasiou, who had been pushed toward us by the noonday crowd and was trying to inch past without his noticing. Louis looked up from the sketch he was doing, and I put down the bookContinue reading “From Book 3: Our Hobourgeois Needs Help”

From Book 1: Artaud Disturbs People Sometimes

            “Bless her,” Justine whispered when Catherine had gone, “she’s so sweet.” She rubbed her eyes. “The cats will have shredded my curtains by tomorrow. That was your brother, wasn’t it? I thought I would faint. Excuse me!” We watched her snatch the nightgown and flee the room after these disjointed statements.             Roger gazedContinue reading “From Book 1: Artaud Disturbs People Sometimes”