Waiting for Bojangles - Olivier Bourdeau

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Waiting for Bojangles - Olivier Bourdeau
Waiting for Bojangles - Olivier Bourdeau

A novel about music, dance and immense love that has charmed both the general public and the critics! Originally released in 2000 copies, " Waiting for Bojangles" reached 200,000 in no time!

This is the funny and touching story that will force you to smile through your tears. A magical love connects the father with his extraordinary wife, the son is immensely happy with his wacky parents, and the mother… She is radiant and witty, gentle and dreamy, unpredictable and free-spirited. She turned the lives of everyone around her into a celebration, into an endless dance to her favorite song - "Mr. Bojangles" by Nina Simone. But one day she goes too far and her sweet madness turns into clinical insanity. Beyond all the emotions this extravagant family evokes in us, the author urges us to "kick reason in the ass", no less. And somehow he manages to convince us that it would give us incomparable pleasure.

“With his singing prose, Olivier Bourdeau makes tears smile and joy cry. He deserves the success that this exciting story will inevitably enjoy," admits literary critic and journalist Jerome Garsen. Bourdeau began writing at the age of 17 when his father brought home an "antediluvian computer". For some time he worked as an employee in a brokerage house, and when he lost his job, he decided to devote himself to literature. In seven weeks he wrote the wacky book he would call Waiting for Bojangles. And luck is smiling on him - immediately after its release in 2014, the novel arouses enormous reader interest and has been awarded 5 (five!) awards: France Culture Telerama, the RTL-Lir grand prize, the Emmanuel Robles prize, the Roman France Television prize and the of the Literary Academy of Breton and of the Loire region.



Dad used to tell me that before I was born, he used to catch flies with a harpoon. He showed me the harpoon and a smeared fly.

– I gave up because it was very difficult and very poorly paid, he assured me as he put away his former tool of labor in a lacquered chest. - Now I open garages, it's a lot of work, but it's well paid.

When I started school and during the first classes everyone introduced themselves, I told about these professions not without pride, but I was politely scolded and abundantly laughed at.

– The truth is poorly paid, even when it is exceptionally funny as a lie – I said regretfully.

Actually, my father was a man of the law.

– The law feeds us! he chuckled as he filled his pipe.

He was neither a judge, nor a deputy, nor a notary, nor a lawyer, none of these things. He owed the trade he practiced to a senator friend of his. Informed by the source of the new legislative orders, he had given himself up to a new profession, completely sucked from the senator's fingers. New norms, new craft. That's how it became a "garage opener." To ensure a well-maintained and safe fleet, the senator had decided to impose roadworthiness tests on everyone. The owners of limousines, trucks, hatchbacks and all kinds of cars had to take their vehicle for a medical examination to avoid accidents. Rich, poor, the law applied to all. And of course, because it was mandatory, my father invoiced expensive and overpriced. He billed the round trip, the examination and the re-examination, and judging by his loud laughter, it was very good.

– Saving their lives, saving their lives! – he laughed, burying his nose in the bank statements.

At that time saving lives was lucrative. After opening a huge number of garages, he resold them to a competitor, much to the relief of Mama, who didn't like him saving anyone's life, because he had to work a lot to do it, and we hardly saw him at all. never.

– I work late to stop early – he answered her, and I didn't understand exactly what he meant.

I often did not understand my father. I understood it a little more years later, but never fully. And so it was good.

He had told me he was born that way, but I quickly learned that the ashen, slightly puffy hollow to the right of his lower lip, to which he owed his pretty, slightly crooked smile, was the result of diligent pipe smoking. His haircut, with parting in the middle and waves on both sides, reminded me of the hairstyle of the Prussian horseman in the picture in the hall. Apart from the Prussian and my father, I have never seen anyone make such a decision. His slightly sunken eye sockets and slightly bulging blue spectacles gave him a curious look. He laughed deeply. At that time he was always happy, in fact he himself often said:

– I'm one happy fool!

To which my mother replied:

– We trust you Georges, we trust you unconditionally.

He kept humming to himself, fake. Sometimes he whistled to himself, also falsely, but because he did it in a good-natured way, he put up with it. He knew how to tell stories, and on the rare occasions when we didn't have guests, he would fold his dry, long body on my bed to lull me to sleep with a story. He took me for walks through forests, we chased deer, met little devils, tripped over coffins until my sleepiness completely disappeared. Usually I would happily jump out of bed or hide behind the curtain in terror. - These are grandma's nineteens - she said before leaving the bedroom.

And on this matter he could be trusted unconditionally. On Sunday afternoons, to banish the effects of the irregular life led during the week, he did exercises to develop the muscles. Bare-chested and with a pipe between his teeth, he stood in front of a large gilt-framed mirror and lifted miniature dumbbells while listening to jazz. He called it a "gymtonic" because sometimes he would stop to take big gulps of his gin and tonic and declare to my mother, – You should exercise too, Marguerite, I assure you, it's fun and you feel much better afterwards.

To which my mother, tongue between teeth and fake eye trying to stab the olive in her martini with a miniature umbrella, replied:

– You should try the orange juice, Georges, and I assure you that sports won't seem so fun after that! And be so good as to stop calling me Marguerite, pick me a new name, or I'll start mooing like a heifer!

I never understood why, but my father never called my mother by the same name for more than two days. Although some names came to her more quickly than others, my mother loved this habit of his, and every morning in the kitchen I would see her watching my father, following him with a smile, her nose buried in her glass, or her chin resting on her hands in anticipation of judgment.

– Oh no! You can't do this to me! Not Rone, not today! We have guests tonight! - she said, then turned her head to the mirror and greeted the new Ronne with a grimace, the new Josephine, giving herself a dignified look, the new Marilou, puffing out her cheeks.

– And I have nothing for Röne in the wardrobe!

Only one day a year did my mother have a specific name. On February 15, her name was Georgette. It wasn't her real name, but Saint Georgette's feast day was one day after Valentine's Day. My parents did not find it romantic at all to go to a crowded restaurant with a pre-ordered menu. Therefore, every year they celebrated Georgette's day in an empty restaurant where only they were served. And Dad still thought that a romantic holiday could only have a female name.

– Book us the best table in the name of Georgette and Georges, please. You don't have those awful heart-shaped sweets anymore, do you? No? Thank goodness! You put me at ease! – he used to say when he was reserving a table in a big restaurant.

For both of them, Georgette World Day had nothing to do with the celebration of love.

After the garage story, my dad didn't need to move into the space to support us, so he started writing books. To write continuously, a lot. He sat at his big desk in front of his leaves, writing, laughing as he wrote, writing what made him laugh, filling his pipe, his ashtray, the room with smoke, and his leaves with ink. The only things he emptied were coffee mugs and mixed liquid bottles. But the publisher's answer was always the same - so, it's well written, it's funny, but it grabbed one by the feet, another by the head.

– Anyone seen a book with legs and a head? Word would get out!

This made us laugh a lot.

My father used to say about her that she was "you" with the stars, which seemed strange to me because she spoke "you" with everyone. My mother also spoke in "vi" to the elegant and wondrous Nymidian bird that lived in our apartment, and since my parents had brought her from some trip from her previous life, she walked around with her white plumage and fierce red eyes, shaking her long black neck. We called her Mademoiselle Fifth Wheel because she was good for nothing, she could only scream for no reason, make round piles on the parquet floor, or wake me up at night by banging on my bedroom door with her orange and olive green beak. Mademoiselle was like my father's fairy tales, an absolute granny nineteen. She slept upright, her head hidden under her wing. As a child I often tried to imitate her, but it was too complicated. Mademoiselle loved Mama lying on the couch and stroking her head for hours. Mademoiselle loved to read like all learned birds. One day my mother asked to take Mademoiselle Fifth Wheel with her to a market in town. For this purpose he fashioned for her a strap adorned with pearls, but Mademoiselle was afraid of the people, and the people were afraid of Mademoiselle, who shrieked more than ever. Once an old lady with a dachshund even told Mama that it was inhumane and dangerous to walk a bird on a leash on the sidewalk.

– Fur, feathers, what's the difference! Mademoiselle has never bitten anyone and I find her much more elegant than your short-legged dog! Come on, Mademoiselle, let's go home, these individuals are too simple and crude!

She came to the apartment very angry, and when she was in this state, she would go to my father to tell him everything in the greatest detail. And like every time he finished, he cheered up again. She often got nervous, but never for long, and my father's voice was like a calming pill for her. The rest of the time he was ecstatic about everything, finding the way the world was going wildly amusing, and accompanying it with a merry hopping. He treated me not as an adult, nor as a child, but as a character in a novel. A novel that he loves dearly and tenderly and that he never stops reading. He didn't want to hear about trouble or sadness.

– When reality is banal and sad, make me a nice story, you lie so well, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. Then I would tell her about my imaginary day and she would frantically clap her hands and giggle.

– What a day my dear child, what a day, I am so happy for you, you had such a good time! Then he covered me with kisses. She was crushing me, so she said, and I loved being crushed by her. In the morning, after receiving her daily name, she would entrust me with one of her freshly perfumed velvet gloves so that her hand could guide me throughout the day.

Some features of her face bore the imprint of her childish demeanor – nice round cheeks and green eyes sparkling with recklessness. The cream and multi-colored berets she wore without much choice to tame her lion's mane gave her the appearance of a headstrong and sassy skinny schoolgirl. But her full carmine lips, which miraculously held the fine white cigarettes she smoked, and her long, life-appreciating eyelashes showed the observer that she had grown up. Her slightly extravagant and extremely elegant outfits proved to probing eyes that she lived, that she was the right age.

This is what my father wrote in his secret notebook, which I read later - after. If the writing had no legs, at least it had a head, and not just any kind.

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