It’ll be the end of me, I swear it. There’s no doubt left in my mind now that the three of us are at the end of our tethers and that something must be done.
I can’t call the police. Matters of a literary nature are not considered sufficiently dastardly to require the services of law enforcement. And yet such things can – do? – result in destroyed careers, significant financial impact, depression, hardship. And, worse, bad books. A negative can determine the course of a career, retard its progression or lift it higher than was previously thought possible.
I am speaking of course of the vicious and intelligent writer Alain d’Alembert, the incandescent, brilliant scourge of Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid. He speaks three languages, can write well in four, and can read, I have been told, seven languages fluently and a further two with the help of a dictionary. He has been translated and published across the globe, and his monographs have served to revive the sales and reputation of flagging French writers gone to pot and indolence from years of wine, cheese and Maigret by encouraging the reprinting of their youthful, hungry work, and very often encourages the authors themselves to return to their former glory. In the German newspapers and magazines he appears less frequently, but his influence there is perhaps greater. He is responsible for Grass’ Nobel, and is the reason that Handke hasn’t, and won’t, receive it himself. Of course he has the ear of the Permanent Secretary of the Academy! The Secretary’s daughter is friends with his wife, and worse he is the godfather of his granddaughter.
I will not insult you by examining his power in the Spanish literary world. It is all too obvious, and his damages there are the source of many heated discussions amongst the cafes and tavernas of Madrid and Barcelona.
So it was left to me, to a German aesthete who wanted to write like Heine but instead could only manage Heyse, and to a French playwright whose greatest influences are Pinter and Stoppard. The three of us became friends are receiving brutal reviews from d’Alembert; the three of us became invisible once he had published his opinions in Der Speigel, Le Monde, The Guardian. And now we are hungry, and now we are desperate, and now our stories, our essays, our novels, our plays, our poems are, all, being rejected wherever they are sent, and now we know that we must do something drastic.
It’s simple, really. We break into his house, find the manuscripts of his attempts at fiction (it must exist!), and send it to a publisher. Turn the tables.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.