From Book 2: Kiki, Foujita, and Duchamp

            Kiki of Montparnasse was a voluptuous, ribald woman with a mop of curly brown hair. Born into poverty in the provinces, she had traveled to Paris for work and and was adopted by the artists who gave Montparnasse its special life. Kiki sang in nightclubs and painted and modeled for Man Ray’s bizarre photographs.Continue reading “From Book 2: Kiki, Foujita, and Duchamp”

From Book 1: Ganymede

            Roger looked around in disgust as we sagged over our food. Génica rested her elbows on the table, holding her sloshing cup in one hand and leaning her cheek in the other, her lashes trembling then jerking upward, only to flutter again. Desnos rubbed his eyes, then put on his glasses and scribbled onContinue reading “From Book 1: Ganymede”

From Book 1: Men vs. Women, Part 3

            Justine trudged up to the back door, turned to fix Louis with a shriveling look, and went in. “Ah, it’s their turn to cook!” Louis cried, and got up to follow her. I meandered over to the kitchen window to spy, and Artaud was at my side.             “Are you ready?” Justine said mysteriouslyContinue reading “From Book 1: Men vs. Women, Part 3”

From Book 1: The Skeleton

            The sun rose, filling the house with light and chasing away the blurry jumble of last night. Whatever I had done in the dark I felt alert now and in good spirits. As soon as everyone dressed and swallowed some coffee we went for a walk on the road. It skirted the forest, whichContinue reading “From Book 1: The Skeleton”

From Book 1: Language

Suddenly his lids closed and his head fell peacefully against the chair and remained there. His breathing stretched, settling into a steady rhythm. I waited but he didn’t speak again. Like a sage he sat there, hands folded, lips pushed aside a bit from the pressure of the cushion on his cheek, his legs stillContinue reading “From Book 1: Language”

From Book 3: Gaston Ferdière

As soon as he was settled, Desnos invited Justine and me to his new, shabby flat near the Boulevard Montparnasse for a dinner party with Artaud and Louis and a new acquaintance, a medical student named Gaston Ferdière. After only a few minutes of speaking with this Ferdière, I decided that he was the mostContinue reading “From Book 3: Gaston Ferdière”

From Book 2: Breton’s Speech

We were crossing a long, grassy mall toward a soot-darkened stone edifice, very square and squat, with dull beige tracery. A dilapidated iron balcony in a recessed alcove overlooked the long rows of steps to the entrance, where two huge oak doors were propped open. I swore when I saw Youki Foujita disengage herself fromContinue reading “From Book 2: Breton’s Speech”

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: Waking Dream

            Suddenly, Desnos reappeared. “Hey, everyone,” he interjected, in a snotty tone of false enthusiasm. He gave me a shriveling look. He was so unforgiving! Angered now, I slumped in my chair, shaking my head at him. “Let’s revive an old Surrealist tradition. In honor of our uninitiated guests.” His glare was definitely for me.Continue reading “From Book 2: Waking Dream”

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”