29 June 2009

Guy Goffette, Forever Nude: A Fiction, 1998

This is the first of Goffette’s récits to be translated into English – short fictions in which he reimagines the lives of historical figures. This follows the life of the French artist Pierre Bonnard and his lifelong relationship with a woman he first met as a teenage farm girl, someone who’d reinvented herself as an Italian aristocrat and who under that guise became his model, muse, lifelong friend and wife over forty-nine years. The Belgian poet Goffette certainly leans towards the poetic and romantic in his writing and he’s therefore suitably aligned with Bonnard’s own style, and he provides a good reflection upon the artist’s life particularly with respect to his relationships with other artists, notably Pablo Picasso, and the onward lives of his paintings after his death. I’ve never taken to Bonnard’s style and probably never will, but this was such a useful and well-observed ‘insider’s guide’ that I’d be interested in seeing more of Goffette’s translations.  PY


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