A new very personal work by Begbede

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A new very personal work by Begbede
A new very personal work by Begbede

Video: A new very personal work by Begbede

Video: A new very personal work by Begbede
Video: Frederic Beigbeder work 2023, October

Fans of the cult French writer Frédéric Begbede will also have the opportunity to read his most unusual work - " First reckoning after the apocalypse".


This is a very personal, essayistic book about attitudes to reading, written to give the avid bibliophiles a sophisticated pleasure, whether they like or dislike its infamous author. Begbede's list of one hundred favorite books includes many names of famous French writers and philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Camus, Proust and Céline, but you will also find icons of world fiction such as Steinbeck, Nabokov, Gabriel García Márquez and Umberto Eco.

Whether he is a cocky snob, a poser, a scathing esthete, a narcissist, a solitary author of "psychedelic" novels or a well-read literary critic and publicist, one thing is certain - Frederic Begbede needs no introduction. The Bulgarian public knows his eccentric works, two of which have had successful adaptations: "Love lasts three years" and "BGN 9.99." Nashumelia "French novel" (2009) Begbede began writing while he was in custody… and precisely with he won the prestigious "Rynodo" literary award.

In the catalog of publishing house "Hummingbird" there are brilliant works of the most famous party man in Paris - "Rest in a coma" and "Help, forgive".



Books are paper tigers with cardboard teeth, tired wild beasts waiting only to be torn apart. Why persist, why read a text written on such material? On fragile, flammable, printed and bound sheets without an electric battery? You have lived your time, old, almost yellowed book, nest of dust, nightmare for the carrier, you who slow time and produce silence. You've lost the taste war. Paper book readers are old nerds, older by the day, more obsessed by the evening. They prefer to touch a thing that they can inhale, fold, annotate, pick up and drop off anywhere, anytime, without having to plug it into the web. A tragedy of senile age. The very fact that we read a text written on paper turns us into the rubble of a collapsed building, like Montag from Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451," a science fiction novel that predicted in 1953 the world we live in today. Bradbury describes a world, in which paper books are banned and in which arsonists are paid to burn them. The only thing he got wrong, blinded by Nazi self-defences, was the fire - the industrialists realized that the pillar of shame was far more discreet than the hearth. The rest part of his prediction is about to come true - within a few years paper tigers will be replaced by flat screens owned by three American companies (Apple, Google and Amazon), one Japanese (Sony) and one French ("Fnac").

You're holding a paper tiger that isn't "dematerialized" and that even pretends it can still bite. He wants to protect his kind, his relatives and benefactors – other wild voices in danger of extinction, no more impressive than a pile of stuffed toys forgotten in the attic. The paper book, it is good to remember, was invented by a German called Johannes Gutenberg six centuries ago. The modern novel appeared shortly after, thanks to Rabelais, followed by Cervantes. We can therefore conclude that with the disappearance of the paper book will also disappear the novel - the two are connected. Reading a novel took time, an armchair and a bound book to turn the pages of - try reading Captivated by Color Girls on an iPod and we'll talk again. The creators of the e-book have so little faith in the novel that Proust's text uploaded to the net is riddled with typographical and spelling errors. It has clearly not been read by those who claim to make it more popular by digitizing it. The replacement of the paper book with one read on a screen will give birth to other narrative forms. They might be interesting (interactivity, hypertext, sound or music processing, 3D illustrations, video relays…), but it will no longer be a novel in the sense in which we, the non-philic readers, the old-fashioned nerds, the old-fashioned bibliophiles understand it.

I admit to being amazed at the general indifference with which this apocalypse is proceeding. As Michaud said about man: the novel on paper is still not for anyone. The first novels I flipped through in my adolescence allowed me to escape from my family, from the outside world and perhaps, without realizing it, from the meaninglessness of the entire universe. Sartre says in The Words that "the appetite for writing involves the renunciation of life." I think the same can be said about reading paper books – the concentration allowed me to escape from reality or rather it filled an ineffable void… The absence of God? My father leaving? My shyness with girls? Reading novels for hours was the ultimate freedom for me. It was a way to launch myself into another existence, different from my own, more beautiful and more fascinating. A parallel and very picturesque world. A reality not so chaotic, a key to decoding being. A utopia, even more wonderful than masturbation.

Of course, everyone is telling stories everywhere - TV is overflowing with soap operas, American cinema dominates the entire Earth, video games even offer us the opportunity to become heroes, going through the trials of Odysseus with a touch of the joystick. Where is the place of the paper novel in this age that bends under the weight of storytelling? The theorists of the New Novel were not quite wrong when they argued that literary characters were stale and classical narrative led to a dead end. As early as 1936, Scott Fitzgerald wryly noted in The Crash that the battle of the written word against the overwhelming presence of the image had been lost. "I saw how the novel, which in my mature years was the most effective and most gracious means of conveying thought and feeling from one human being to another, began to yield to a mechanical and communal art which, whether in the hands of Hollywood salesmen, or of idealists, was able to reflect only the most banal thoughts and primitive feelings." Which is not very flattering to the seventh art. Let's put the question another way. How can a paper novel compete with an audio-visual work in a world where Western man spends three hours a day in front of the television? Sometimes I feel that the first great novel in History, "Don Quixote," accurately describes the battle waged by a few indomitable champions of the cause of literature at the dawn of the third millennium. It is well to know that I write this preface armed with a spear and wearing a helmet.

Pietro Cittati and George Steiner say the novel is dead, or at the very least, very tired. That he has already exhausted himself. It is true that by much inventing non-existent characters we have managed to further congest our already overcrowded planet. This opinion is quite fashionable - pessimism is the aesthetic of the present. Maybe I succumb to it too, because I am easily influenced by other people's opinions. The strange thing is that these same erudite exegetes claim that too many novels are being published. On the one hand, the novel is dying, on the other, is the novel too alive? There is a paradox in this. Or is the novel drowned in its quantitative mass? I prefer the hope offered by Mario Vargas Llosa in his Nobel acceptance speech in 2010, whose lyricism doesn't seem the least bit funny to me at a time when Gutenberg is being stabbed in the back. "We must continue to dream, read and write - this is the most effective way to relieve our transitory existence, to defeat the corrosion of time, to make the impossible possible."

It's true that he doesn't protect paper tigers, but if I count him in my regiment (Mario, I'd like to be your Sancho Panza), it's because paper doesn't seem as "perishable" to me as electronic- a book-with-a-touch-screen-display-and-with-a-compact-multifunctional-reading-device that experiences its time two days after leaving the factory.

The paper-printed book was, according to Umberto Eco, the perfect invention. Simple, economical, easily portable, durable and easy to handle. Why would we want to get rid of such a successful item? I am the author of eight paperback novels because I still have faith. I am convinced that the novel saved me, giving illusory meaning to the chaos around me. The novelist is a hermit who creates a society for himself, but mainly a man who tries to justify his existence - by distorting his life to invent another life, the novel suddenly gives him utility, presence, a semblance of organization. The novelist invents a life from which he emerges victorious, in which he feels more comfortable. Even when they weren't completely autobiographical, my novels forced me to get to know myself. It was something like psychoanalysis, but less expensive and more ridiculous - without healing. The novel worsens your condition. With the novel, you read the proofreading of your life. The novel served as my excuse for not becoming a smug jerk. Does this also apply to the digital novel? Honestly, do you think you listen to music with the same attention since MP3 replaced the disc? Doesn't the fact that usage is available, instant, universal and free kill our appetite? It is not bad to remember the delightful rummaging in bookstores, the gazing in the windows, the momentary unfulfilled desire to own a given book. The novel had to be earned - until it was available to us on the web, it required physical effort from us. We had to leave the house to go pick it up in a place full of lonely dreamers, then stand in line to buy it, smile at strangers with the same affliction, before carrying it to hands or in your pocket at home, on the subway or at the beach. The paper novel was that trick that could turn an asocial type into a socialite, then a recluse again, by forcing him to stay for a moment-oh, not very long, but still a little-face to face with himself. A paper novel was not written as text in Word. It didn't read on paper like it did on screen. One did not write with a pen, as one clattered on a keyboard. Writing and reading on paper had a slow solemnity that gave them nobility-by leveling all forms of writing, the screen made them interchangeable. The genius is reduced to the rank of an ordinary blogger. The screen unites Leo Tolstoy and Catherine Pankol. He is… communist! Everyone there lives the same way - Cervantes's prose is reduced to the rank of Wikipedia. Revolutions always aim to destroy the aristocracy.

Let's take a specific example - reading on the plane. As we turned the pages of the paper novel, we could measure the title of the book our pretty neighbor was reading during the ride. Now she's reading from a tablet and all we see is a logo in the shape of a bitten apple. I liked it better when she casually left the white cover of Lovers, Happy Lovers on the arm of her chair… The beauty of the paper book was its status as a unique item with a cover and spine different from all other covers and spines. Each novel was a rare thing-to write meant to produce that thing, to sculpt it, to polish it, by first imagining it, by dreaming it. I always wrote with the end product in mind, its size, shape, smell. I've always felt the need to "see" the cover, the title, of course, with my name at the top of the poster, in bold. To read (or write) from a tablet is to hold in one's hands a temporary wharf, a miniature station through which fleeting and interchangeable works pass. Each paper book was different, while the digital reader is the same, it doesn't change shape with each novel. Whatever text you read (or write), it will remain the same - in your hands "Flowers of Evil" will weigh as much as "Lady of his heart".

Another apocalypse: the end of a beautiful gesture. Do you really think that reading a paper book is the same as handling a touch screen? Reading the unique book by turning its pages, that is, entering into the intrigue PHYSICALLY, has absolutely nothing to do with the gesture of sliding your index finger across a cold surface, even if Apple has shown the delicate attention to anticipate a rustle of paper every time, when the e-reader turns the page (a detail which, by the way, betrays the inferiority complex of the proponents of digital reading). If we remember Julien Sorel taking Madame de Renal's hand in the first third of Red and Black, it is because the paper thing allowed us to MOVE to that apotheosis. We almost SAW him, turning the pages of the novel as Julien worked out his seductress strategy. Every paperback novel I've read has been etched in my visual memory. What about the smell! I inhaled the smell of paper, which reminded me of the perfumed linoleum of city libraries, awakened in me the olfactory memory of the waxed parquet of the Villa Navarre in the Pau. The smell of paper made me travel through time and space to my grandfather's rickety armchair where I would relax and drift off into dreams. The vegetable fibers that make up the texture of the paper, the barely dried ink gave off an exquisite fragrance… And what does the e-book smell like? On metal.

Pages read on paper were a conquest, to read was to decode a universe like an explorer or climber of the human brain. Reading the paper was more than entertainment, it was a victory. I remember the pride I felt when I closed The Rise and Fall of Courtesans or Crime and Punishment. Done, I had read them, I already knew everything about Rastinyak or Raskolnikov, and I could close their fictional lives on my knees with the satisfaction of a duty fulfilled. The e-reader makes us not readers who enter a work and venture into an unknown world to escape ours, but fed-up users, bewildered automatons, impatiently moving from book to book and absently clicking the mouse. The risk of ADHD (Attention Deficit Syndrome), that is, that inability to focus that affects more and more victims of computers, is multiplied when we read on a tablet that allows us to receive emails, download movies and songs, that has Skype and Tweets and whatnot, not counting viruses and crashes that interrupt you in the middle of Molly Bloom's monologue. Soon we will not be able to visit the brains of geniuses, as ours will be overloaded, passive, if not "bugged". Even Paul Moran was worried in his "Unnecessary Diary" (long before the invention of the iPad): "Concentration - children should study it, have concentration classes; and by memorization (only the Jesuits understood it). A man succeeds if he thinks of only one thing, whether it be a character in a novel or a way to get rich."

Ten years ago, in 2001, that is, well before the end of the literary world, I decided to comment on the 50 books of the century chosen by the French (survey of the village of "Mond" and the bookstores "Fnac"). Here they are:

1. Albert Camus. The Stranger (1942)

2. Marcel Proust. "In Search of Lost Time" (1913-1927)

3. Franz Kafka. The Trial (1925)

4. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The Little Prince (1943)

5. André Malraux. The Human Lot (1933)

6. Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Journey to the End of the Night (1932)

7. John Steinbeck. The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

8. Ernest Hemingway. For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

9. Alain Fournier. The Big Mon (1913)

10. Boris Vian. Foam of Days (1947)

11. Simon de Beauvoir. The Second Sex (1949)

12. Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot (1953)

13. Jean-Paul Sartre. Being and Nothingness (1943)

14. Umberto Eco. The Name of the Rose (1981)

15. Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The Gulag Archipelago (1973)

16. Jacques Préver. Words (1946)

17. Guillaume Apollinaire. Spirits (1913)

18. Erze. The Blue Lotus (1936)

19. Anne Frank. Diary (The Back House) (1947)

20. Claude Lévi-Strauss. Sad Tropics (1955)

21. Aldous Huxley. The Best of Worlds (1932)

22. George Orwell. "1984" (1948)

23. Gosini and Uderzo. Asterix the Gaul (1959)

24. Eugene Ionesco. The Bald Singer (1950)

25. Sigmund Freud. "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality" (1905)

26. Marguerite Jursenard. Creation in Black (1968)

27. Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita (1955)

28. James Joyce. Odysseus (1922)

29. Dino Budzati. The Tartar Desert (1940)

30. Andre Gide. The Counterfeiters (1925)

31. Jean Giono. Hussar on the Roof (1951)

32. Albert Cohen. The Lady of His Heart (1968)

33. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)

34. William Faulkner. "Noisy and Madness" (1929)

35. Francois Mauriac. Thérèse Dequeiroux (1927)

36. Raymond Keno. Zazie on the Subway (1959)

37. Stefan Zweig. Chaos of Feelings (1926)

38. Margaret Mitchell. Gone with the Wind (1936)

39. D. H. Lawrence. Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)

40. Thomas Mann. The Magic Mountain (1924)

41. Françoise Sagan. Good Morning Sadness (1954)

42. Vercor. The Silence of the Sea (1942)

43. Georges Perec. "Life - A Way of Use" (1978)

44. Arthur Conan Doyle. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)

45. Georges Bernanos. Under Satan's Sun (1926)

46. Francis Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby (1925)

47. Milan Kundera. The Joke (1967)

48. Alberto Moravia. The Contempt (1954)

49. Agatha Christie. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)

50. Andre Breton. Nadia (1928)