Jaume Cabré: Confessions

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Jaume Cabré Confessions
  • Название:
    Confessions
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Arcadia Books
  • Жанр:
    Современная проза / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2014
  • Язык:
    Английский
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Confessions: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

Предлагаем к чтению аннотацию, описание, краткое содержание или предисловие (зависит от того, что написал сам автор книги «Confessions»). Если вы не нашли необходимую информацию о книге — напишите в комментариях, мы постараемся отыскать её.

Drawing comparisons with Shadow of the Wind, The Name of the Rose and The Reader, and an instant bestseller in more than 20 languages, Confessions is an astonishing story of one man s life, interwoven with a narrative that stretches across centuries to create an addictive and unforgettable literary symphony. I confess. At 60 and with a diagnosis of early Alzheimer s, Adrià Ardèvol re-examines his life before his memory is systematically deleted. He recalls a loveless childhood where the family antique business and his father s study become the centre of his world; where a treasured Storioni violin retains the shadows of a crime committed many years earlier. His mother, a cold, distant and pragmatic woman leaves him to his solitary games, full of unwanted questions. An accident ends the life of his enigmatic father, filling Adrià s world with guilt, secrets and deeply troubling mysteries that take him years to uncover and driving him deep into the past where atrocities are methodically exposed and examined. Gliding effortlessly between centuries, and at the same time providing a powerful narrative that is at once shocking, compelling, mysterious, tragic, humorous and gloriously readable, Confessions reaches a crescendo that is not only unexpected but provides one of the most startling denouements in contemporary literature. Confessions is a consummate masterpiece in any language, with an ending that will not just leave you thinking, but quite possibly change the way you think forever.

Jaume Cabré: другие книги автора


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Carolina, what a lovely name; of course you have a beautiful name, my love.

‘Ti fa ancora male, Carolina (sheer, absolute beauty)?’ he repeated, distressed.

‘Reason. Faith through reason. Is that heretical? Is it, Ardevole?’

He had had to leave her sitting on a bench, because the nymph, blushing intensely, assured him that her mother would soon come by. While the two students resumed their walk — as Drago Gradnik, in his nasal Latin, ventured that perhaps Saint Bernard isn’t everything in life, that Teilhard de Chardin’s conference seems to invite us to think — he found himself bringing a hand to his face and trying to smell what remained of the scent of the goddess Carolina’s skin.

‘Me, in love?’ He looked at Morlin, who was watching him with a smirk.

‘You show all the symptoms.’

‘What do you know?’

‘I’ve been through it.’

‘And how did you get over it?’ Ardèvol’s tone is anxious.

‘I didn’t get over it. I got under it. Until the love ended and then I got out.’

‘Don’t shock me.’

‘That’s life. I’m a sinner and I repent.’

‘Love is infinite, it never ends. I couldn’t …’

‘My God, you’ve got it bad, Fèlix Ardevole!’

Ardevole didn’t answer. Before him were some thirty pigeons, the Monday after Easter, in the Piazza di Pietra. The urgency of his yearning made him cut through the jungle of pigeons until he reached Carolina, who handed him the little package.

‘Il gioiello dell’Africa,’ said the nymph.

‘And how do you know that I …’

‘You pass by here every day. Every day.’

In that moment, Matthew twenty-seven fifty-one, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, the rocks were split, and the graves were opened and the many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep were resurrected.

Mystery of God and the incarnate Word of God.

Mystery of the Virgin Mary and Mother of God.

Mystery of the Christian faith.

Mystery of the church, human and imperfect; divine and eternal.

Mystery of the love of a young woman who gives me a little package that I’ve kept on the table inside cinquantaquattro for two days. On the third day I only dared to unwrap the outermost layer of paper. It is a small closed box. My God. I’m on the edge of the abyss.

He waited until Saturday. Most of the students were in their rooms. A few had gone out for walks or were scattered among the various Roman libraries where they rummaged around, exasperated, for answers on the nature of evil and why God allows it, on the exasperating existence of the devil, on the correct reading of the Holy Scriptures or on the appearance of the neume in Gregorian and Ambrosian chants. Fèlix Ardèvol was alone in cinquantaquattro, no book on the table, nothing out of place because if something drove him nuts it was the infuriating chaotic profusion of objects that were relegated to junk, or objects out of place, or for his gaze to get stuck on things that weren’t well displayed, or … He thought that maybe he was becoming obsessive. I think so; that it began in that period: Father was a man fixated on material order. I think that intellectual incoherence didn’t bother him much. But a book on the table instead of put away on its shelf, or a paper forgotten atop a radiator, it was simply inexcusable and unforgivable. Nothing could ruin the view and he kept us all in line, especially me. I had to tidy up each and every day, all the toys I had played with except for Sheriff Carson and Black Eagle because they secretly slept with me and Father never found out about that.

He kept cinquantaquattro as clean as a whistle. And Fèlix Ardèvol, standing, looking out the window at the flow of cassocks entering and leaving the residence hall. And a horse and cart passing along the Via del Corso with some unconfessable and infuriating secrets inside its closed cabin. And the child dragging an iron bucket and making a gratuitous, infuriating racket. He was shaking with fear and that was why everything made him indignant. On the table lay an unexpected object, an object that did not yet have its place. The little green box that Carolina had given him with a gioiello dell’Africa inside. His fate. He had sworn to himself that before the bells struck twelve at Santa Maria he would have thrown out the little box or opened it. Or he would have killed himself. One of the three.

Because one thing is living to study, making a path in the thrilling world of paleography, in the universe of ancient manuscripts, learning languages that no one speaks any longer because centuries ago they were frozen into stale papyri that become their only window onto memory, distinguishing medieval paleography from ancient paleography, being happy that the world was so large that, when I got bored, I could start to investigate Sanskrit and the Asian languages, and if some day I have a child I would want …

And why am I thinking about having a child? he thought, annoyed; no, he thought indignantly. And he looked at the little box again, alone on the tidy table in cinquantaquattro. Fèlix Ardèvol brushed an imaginary thread off his cassock, ran a finger along the skin chafed by his clerical collar and sat in front of the table. In three minutes they would ring the bells at Santa Maria. He took a deep breath and came to a resolution: for the moment, he wasn’t going to kill himself. He picked up the little box with his hands, very carefully, like a boy carrying a nest he’d stolen from a tree to show his mother the greenish eggs or the helpless baby birds that I will feed, Mother, don’t worry, I’ll give them a lot of ants. Like the thirsty deer, oh, Lord. Somehow or another he knew that the steps he was taking were creating an aura of irreversibility in his soul. Two minutes. With trembling fingers he tried to untie the red ribbon, but each time the knot grew tighter and it wasn’t because Carolina was inept but rather a question of his nerves. He stood up, irritable. One minute and a half. He went over to the wash-hand basin and grabbed his shaving razor. He opened it hurriedly. One minute and fifteen seconds. And he cruelly cut that ribbon, of the loveliest red colour he’d ever seen in his entire long life, because, at twenty-five, he felt old and tired and wished these things wouldn’t happen to him, wished that they would happen to the other Félix, who seemed to be able to handle them without … One minute! His mouth dry, his hands sweating, a drip running down his cheek and it wasn’t a very hot day … Ten seconds left before the bells of Santa Maria in Via Lata strike twelve noon. And while in Versailles a bunch of novices were saying that the war was over and as they signed the armistice, their tongues hanging out from the effort, they set into motion the mechanisms to make a splendid new war possible just a few years later, bloodier and more evil, a war which God should never have allowed, Fèlix Ardèvol i Guiteres opened the little green box. With hesitant gestures, he removed the pink cotton and, as the first bell rang, Angelus Domini nutiavit Mariae, he burst into tears.

It was relatively simple to leave the residence hall incognito. He had practised it many times with Morlin, Gradnik and two or three other trusted friends, and they’d always got away with it. Dressed in lay clothes, Rome opened many doors; or it opened other, different doors than it did for the cassocks. In normal attire they could enter all the museums that decorum kept them from entering with cassocks on. And they could have coffee in the Piazza Colonna and even further, watching people pass by, and two or three times Morlin took him, beloved disciple, to meet people whom, according to him, he had to meet. And he introduced him as Fèlix Ardevole, a wise man who knew eight languages and for whom manuscripts held no secrets, and the scholars opened up their safes and let him examine the original manuscript of La mandragola, which was lovely, or some trembling papyri related to the Maccabees. But today while Europe was making peace pacts, wise Fèlix Ardevole slipped out of the residence hall, unbeknownst to the hall authorities and, for the first time, without his friends. With a pullover and a hat that hid his clerical air. And he headed straight to Signor Amato’s fruit shop to wait, and the hours passed, he with the little box in his pocket, watching the people circulate blithely and happily because they didn’t have his fever. Including Carolina’s mother, and her little sister. Everyone except his love. The gioiello, a crude medallion with a rudimentary engraving of a Romanesque Virgin beside a huge tree, some sort of fir. And on the back, the word ‘Pardàc’. From Africa? Could it be a Coptic medallion? Why did I say my love when I have no right to … and the fresh air became unbreathable. The bells began to chime, and Fèlix, who had yet to be informed, attributed it to a homage that all of Rome’s churches were making to his furtive, clandestine and sinful love. And people stopped, surprised, perhaps searching for Abelard; but instead of pointing at him they asked themselves why in the world were all the bells in Rome chiming at three in the afternoon, which isn’t a time they’re usually rung, what must be going on? My God: what if the war was over?

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