mercredi 14 décembre 2011

Transparent things -- Vladimir Nabokov

La chevelure de feu
Luigi Russolo

L'avant-dernier roman de Nabokov, entre Ada et Regarde, regarde les arlequins !. Très court, une centaine de pages ; "mystérieux, sinistre et superbement mélancolique" comme le décrit Martin Amis. 

Le dernier paragraphe, l'incendie de l'hôtel où Person, le héros, "trouve la mort" :

Now flames were mounting the stairs, in pairs, in trios, in redskin file, hand in hand, tongue after tongue, conversing and humming happily. It was not, though, the heat of their flicker, but the acrid dark smoke that caused Person to retreat back into the room; excuse me, said a polite flamelet holding open the door he was vainly trying to close. The window banged with such force that its panes broke into a torrent of rubies, and he realized before choking to death that a storm outside was aiding the inside fire. At last suffocation made him try to get out by climbing out and down, but there were no ledges or balconies on that side of the roaring house. As he reached the window a long lavender-tipped flame danced up to stop him with a graceful gesture of its gloved hand. Crumbling partitions of plaster and wood allowed human cries to reach him, and one of his last wrong ideas was that those were the shouts of people anxious to help him, and not the howls of fellow men. Rings of blurred colours circled around him, reminding him briefly of a childhood picture in a frightening book about triumphant vegetables whirling faster and faster around a nightshirted boy trying desperately to awake from the iridescent dizziness of dream life. Its ultimate vision was the incandescence of a book or a box grown completely transparent and hollow. This is, I believe, it: : not the crude anguish of physical death but the incomparable pangs of the mysterious mental maneuver needed to pass from one state to another.
Easy, you know, does it, son.

Virtuose, sans doute, mais une virtuosité qui se fond et disparaît dans la profondeur de champ qu'elle illumine en un éclair. Comme le note encore Martin Amis dans sa conclusion, à propos du style de Nabokov :

"They call it a "shimmer" – a glint, a glitter, a glisten. The Nabokovian essence is a miraculously fertile instability, where without warning the words detach themselves from the everyday and streak off like flares in a night sky, illuminating hidden versts of longing and terror."

Easy, you know, does it, son.