From Book 2: Escaping the Police

            Hands tore at me and I threw my fists out blindly, making contact with eyes and cheeks. The air cleared and I crawled onstage. Now Breton was nowhere to be seen. I hauled Desnos up by the arm. Holding his handkerchief against the flow of blood, Desnos stumbled in the direction I shoved himContinue reading “From Book 2: Escaping the Police”

From Book 2: Saint-Pol-Roux’s Banquet

            One evening, while Catherine sat with Suzanne in the dining room planning a supper for our father’s birthday, Franz on the sofa sheepishly unfolded a few old newspaper articles he’d saved. “This should interest you,” he whispered. “Surrealism’s biggest public scandal.” We sat quietly together to read them. The event was an honorary banquetContinue reading “From Book 2: Saint-Pol-Roux’s Banquet”

From Book 1: Teacher’s Pet

“How can you keep track of so many people?” I asked. I was already thinking how I could devise a deck of cards to remember them all. Soupault, with his lamppost, was the ace, and Desnos was the joker, of course. I figured Artaud for the king, Péret for the knave, and this Simone couldContinue reading “From Book 1: Teacher’s Pet”

From Book 3: The Cenci

            In May, Louis, Anita, Justine and I attended the premiere of The Cenci with Desnos and Youki. It was a gala performance with many society members in attendance, including the Prince of Greece. The nobility stumbled about in the cramped foyer alongside the intellectuals who jabbered with their berets pressed close together. The venue,Continue reading “From Book 3: The Cenci”

From Book 2: The Sex Discussions

Author’s note: What Antonin Artaud had to say about sexuality can raise the hair on your neck and it did mine, at first – but you have to dig deeper to understand that the mania-catatonia that dogged him all his life extended into his sex life in the form of swings between uncontrollable erections andContinue reading “From Book 2: The Sex Discussions”

From Book 2: L’Étoile de Mer

Author’s note: My protagonist, yoked to a six-pointed starfish, changes the histories of real people’s lives by entering them, bringing with him the spectre of Fantômas and the possibility of love. Therefore his perception of Desnos’s film is his own. “Let it go, Geoffrey,” Desnos repeated. “Lay low for a couple of weeks.”             “You’reContinue reading “From Book 2: L’Étoile de Mer”

From Book 2: Jacques Vaché

Author’s note: Jokes about and variations on the slur “po-wet” and references to the Three Musketeers are central to the novels. The blindfold came off and I looked around, bewildered, as we entered the metro again. It was jammed with people. “Toward Charenton!” Roger announced, seeing my blank look.             “To check ourselves in?” IContinue reading “From Book 2: Jacques Vaché”

From Book 3: Balthus and Laudanum

In June, 1934 Balthus attempted suicide and Artaud found him. Previous scene here. Valentine Hugo trailed me to the door and exchanged some more meaningless pleasantries with me while I kept backing away. When I finally reached the street, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was far from Montparnasse but I decided to stopContinue reading “From Book 3: Balthus and Laudanum”

Excerpt from Book 1: New in Paris

            Because I had heard about it and read about it so much I rode a trolley to Montmartre and wandered for a bit along the narrow, cobblestoned streets. Of course this area was popular on a sunny day and it was crowded, so I decided not to explore the sprawling gardens below the whiteContinue reading “Excerpt from Book 1: New in Paris”