”The Miraculous Mandarin”, / / 1.1.2016
  ”The Miraculous Mandarin”, an intensely poetic, nocturnal yet vibrant book, is the very first written by the author. With this book, she came to the attention of literary circles in Turkey and established herself as a writer with a unique, dense style and as ”a master of expression” although as the first work, it was eclipsed to a certain extent by the success of the later novel, ”The City in Crimson Cloak”, generally referred as her best book and masterpiece. However, it has remained the favorite of some, especially of poets, as its lyricism and poignancy is never surpassed in the later, more mature works. The confrontation with the experience of parting and exiledom is genuine and strong, the observations on the ”otherness” and ”Europe” are keen, risky themes as the death and the wound, loss and mourning are dealt without any comprimise. The destiny of this first book dramatically changed when it came to the attention of Jean Descat, the famous translator of Serbo— Croation as well as a scholar of Russian literature. Jean Descat, learning Turkish at that time, found his own experience in this short novella as a foreigner who has lived several decades in Geneva and decided to translate the book into French. (Since then, Jean Descat has established himself also as a translator of Turkish, translating many classics along with the later works of Ash Erdogan, for Actes Sud.) Due to his wonderful translation, the book suddenly received the attention of French literary critics, including the ’notorious’ Josyane Savigneau. However, the biggest literary success of the book was in Sweden, it was chosen among the ”Books of the Year” along with Joyce Carol Oates and Murakami. Since then, ”The Miraculous Mandarin” has been translated and published in German, Italian, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Bosnian, Albanian and Macedonian.

”Ode to brevity” (Josyane Savigneau, Le Monde)

” It is a beautiful novel, with an uncomprimising melancholy, as well in its attitute as in its language, which balances at the edge of elegant post—expressionism.”(Dagens Nyheter, Sweden)

”Erdogan’s language glitters clearly, lyrical and condensed, full of bittersweet sentences. It is a pearl with dark lustre ”(Norrkopings Tidningar, Sweden)

” With her sharp reflection Erdogan unveils several senses of being ”half’, woman, immigrant,

Muslim and so on. And the underlying criticism of the novel against the view of the ”other” has only gained importance during the years that have past since writing the novel. This account has, just all relevant contemporary literature, a range which reaches far beyond its purpose.” (Tidningen Kulturen)

”The quality which carries her texts to literary heights is the dense and intensively vibrant poetic language... Ash Erdogan. Remember that name. The Turkish author has enough literary gunpowder in her slender body to tremble a whole world.” (Helsingsborgs Dagblad)

Brief Description

” The Miraculous Mandarin”, referring to the ballet with the same name by Bela Bartok, is composed of two thematically connected novellas, that take place in two cities: Istanbul and Geneva. Two terminals and facets of a journey in the boundary of past and present, inner world and outer reality, life and death. (In the French edition by Actes Sud, only the first novella was published as Le Mandarin Miraculeux while the second novella was published in a later collection, Les Oiseaux de Bois.)

The narrator of the ”In the Void of a Lost Eye”, is a 27 year old, blond, immigrant Turkish woman with bandages covering half of her face. She had lost one of her eyes due to a reason that will never be made explicit to the reader, as the reason for her exile. The lost eye is treated in both levels, as a real illness with detailed descriptions of the physical pain, treatment and the ed vision of semi—blindness, as well as a wound, a metaphor for loss, separation, parting, splitting. The reader follows her foot steps in one long, interminable night, in the semi—lit, deserted streets, the riverbanks and bridges Geneva. As we walk deeper and deeper into the night in concentric circles, a semi—fictional, sensory universe is slowly built through images in which the city is starts to take shape and breathe. The Old Town with its narrow, cobble stone streets and statues, the river junction, the immigrant quarters, the red light district... Geneva, a foreign, yet to be discovered city, or the outer reality, assumes another, more real existence under this semi—dark gaze, a vision that from the very starts confesses it can only see the dark, obscure side of the reality.

The style overlaps with the content, the narrative is formed of several texts, small spirals in time and place. Some texts are poignant and poetic, built up of images, some texts are more abstract and metaphorical, probing deeper into vision and void, some are only broken pieces of dialogues, with her doctor, with her ex—lover, Sergio, with men she meets at the red light district, with prostitutes... The reminiscences of lost love, or late discovered passion and forbidden desire, slowly emerge while the ghost of Istanbul becomes more and more apparent as she spirals in wider circles in her past. Her story is set upon contradictions and oppositions: she is now chasing desperately the past that she had run away from (Istanbul), her denied womanhood and sexual desire, has finally captivated and entrapped her, the life that she has always been bound to watch bitterly from a bridge, now has flourished within herself. She is doomed to chase whatever she is most afraid of. All the conflicts, the splits and crevasses center around the eye, the lost eye, the metaphor for the eternal exile.

The namesake of the book, ”Miraculous Mandarin” is an old Chinese legend that has also inspired Bartok. An old, ugly mandarin visits a beautiful prostitute. Her bandit friends attack him and try to rob him but no sword can harm the mandarin. Only when the woman starts to caress him with real tenderness and desire, the wounds become visible, reopen and bleed. In the novella, the female narrator tells this ancient myth to her lover, in the morning of their first night, as one of her ’favorite myths.’ The third character in the novella is Michelle, a very beautiful, daring, passionate, woman, a creation of the narrator, a fictional personality that she has built up as her binary opposite, but so far, she had not been able to compose a story for her. At the end of the night, the two women, the wounded creator and her d perfect Michelle, will meet in the dangerous back streets of Geneva, at the crossroad of imagination and reality, at the moment of death, which will finally give the lost eye its full vision and meaning.

The second novella, ”A Visitor from the Country of the Past”, is symmetric opposite of the first. The narrator is a 42 year old Turkish man, and his dismal ’journey’ takes us to Istanbul on a winter day, when the melting snow is replaced by mud and fog. Ottoman cemeteries, the gray waters of Bosphorus, the poor, run down working class districts, a small pine forest overlooking the old city, muddy, colorless streets, cold and suffocating cafes, quagmires, dead or dying street animals...

The story opens on the Mont Blanc Bridge in Geneva, on 21st of December, the longest night of the year, while the city is preparing for the Christmas. ” A memory is a rickety old bridge which never takes you across to the other side.” Looking at the Alps, buried in thick, yellowish smog, the narrator is trying to jump across a crevasse of time and memory, to December 21st of the previous year.

As we follow him in his desperate and frantic journey through snow—covered Istanbul, jumping from taxi to taxi, ”running into the bushes a horse beaten to madness”, we realize that he always ends up in the same blind spots. A ”love story”, which has in fact grown cold and devoid of love for some years, is trying to be reconstructed but death seems to jut out in every corner, warning us of its omnipresence, turning each path into a dead end. Reminiscences, remorse and guilt, muddy, down trodden side streets of an enduring relationship, trampled over and over... The images of the woman become more and more alive as they are intertwined with the images of Istanbul.

Only towards the very end of the novella, we hear her true voice, when we read her farewell letter, one of the most lyrical and painful passages in the book, more confrontational and genuine than anything the narrator had so far confessed. We realize that it is his wife, afflicted with cancer, terminally ill, calling him, begging him not to leave her alone in the final moment. In fact, this dark, frantic journey is but one piece in the massive jigsaw of anticipation of death that has gone much longer than he could endure. As he arrives home at the beginning of the longest night, far too late to see his wife alive for the last time, he can’t escape from being confronted by Death, which so far he had avoided at all costs, in the bizarre, funeral— ceremony that the children hold for a dying street dog, a puppy. From now on, he is destined to be an exile, only a visitor in his own past. This tear inducing story of loss and guilt, an elegy for the forever gone, gives its narrator and the reader a glimpse of hope, a path leading into the future at the finale, when the fog is momentarily blown away and Mont Blanc becomes visible in its full glory and magnificence.

Both novellas deal with the question of being an immigrant, or an exile, in a foreign city, in ”Europe”,in the present as well as being an exile in your own homeland and own past.

Mauvais oeil

La narratrice, une jeune femme turque, erre dans Geneve une fois la nuit tombee. Depuis le depart de Sergio, son amant, elle a perdu I’oeil gauche. Desormais objet de peur ef de repulsion, elle se refugie dans la solitude et une ironie teintee de cynisme; la voila racontant 1’interet que iui manifeste un jeune Franqais croise dans an cafe; t H devait se figurer que j’etais une femme ecrivain du Tiers Monde qui avail perdu un ceil en combattant pour la democratic, n En realite toute sa personnalite est habitee par la douleur, et semble prete a se briser a ia mosndre manifestation de tendresse,

Ce roman etrange peut se tire a differents niveaux ; on peut I’interpreter comme le recit, a I’humour glacial, d’une experience de I’amoindrissement physique et de la marginalite qu’il entraTne. Une femme a la beaute aiteree ne vaut plus grand—chose sur le marche de I’amour, et n’a plus rien a attendre, tel est le constat que fait la narratrice. Et la description du regard des autres — s un seul ceil est pour eux une chose plus insupportable que la mort man ceil perdu occupe la place de ce qu’tls on t perdu ou devront perdre. Us en font un abfme v — dit crOment feffroi devant toute

a noma lie physique. Mais le recit possede une dimension plus symbolique, presque psychanalytique: 1’ced perdu figure ia conscience, et peut—etre aussi, dans sa suppuration, les non—dits et )es nevroses. Cependant, i’ecriture de Asti Erdogan, presque seche, fient a distance tout pathos, comme la narratrice lorsqu’elle s’adrcsse a son amant: « ne compte pas surmoi pour me complaire bassement a (. .} distribuer gratis souffrances. cauchemars et tragedies.a Ce sorrt precisemen? cette souffrance non elucidee du personnagc. son passe mysterieux, et sa solitude dans une Geneve etrangere, qur donnent a ce court texte une beaute sombre, emplissant le lecteur de malaise et de compassion.

Delphtne Descaves

Le Mandarin miraculeux d’Asu Eroocan — Tracluii ou turc oar Jean Doscat. Antes Surf 111

“II mandarino meravigiioso”

Primo romanzo di Asli Erdogan tradotto nel nostro Paese, sviluppa una ricerca dell’identity che richiama le atmosfere di Agota Kristof L’occhio solo della TURCHIA

Un libro assai singolare quello che fa conoscere per la prima volta in Italia una delle maggiori scrittrici turche di oggi, Asli Erdogan, che nel nostro Paese ha gia avuto modo di far conoscere la sua voce per il tramite dell’attrice Serra Yilmaz, che ha portato in scena recentemente al Piccolo Teatro di Milano, un suo testo, Nel silenzio della vita, un viaggio al femminile, intriso delle inquietudini personali di una donna e di un’intera generazione.

Si tratta dello stesso tema di questo ”11 mandarino meravigiioso”, pubblicato in edizione originale nel 1996 e tradotto solo ora da Giulia Ansaldo per Keller: un romanzo che si compone di racconti legati tra di loro dal tema del viaggio notturno di una donna in una Ginevra inusuale e segreta, dove si svela il senso del dolore e della fragility umana, quella forma di frattura della propria esistenza che si mostra in ferite interiori ed esteriori.

La protagonista del libro e una donna straniera, di origini turche, che mette a nudo, in questo suo vagare nelle strade buie e nelle zone meno conosciute della citta, nei caffe frequentati dagli emigranti, la sua diversity, quella della malattia che l’ha colpita e che in qualche modo sembra allontanarla dai rapporti sociali. E questa sua immagine sembra accompagnare come una ferita indelebile e simbolica tutto il libro. Una malattia le ha fatto perdere l’uso di un occhio e lei vaga cosi, sapendo di essere guardata con sospetto, di incutere paura, di destabilizzare certe sicurezze della normalita: «Una donna con un occhio solo e piu spaventosa persino di un fantasma». Cosi sceglie la notte, una forma di riparo rispetto al dolore, ma anche una possibility per non mettere in discussione continuamente la sua identity, la sua possibility di esistere. E difficile la sua situazione. L’occhio perduto mette in circolo strane paure, esclude, annienta: «Incarno il messaggero maledetto, il testimone vivente dell’estinzione. Con un grido muto, il mio occhio parla dell’oscurita dello sguardo, della negazione compresa nell’esistenza».

Si profila cosi una doppia diversity vissuta dalla donna: dover fare i conti con il proprio occhio perduto e cercare di soprawivere agli assalti della memoria, vivere in pratica un duplice esilio nel centra dell’Europa, sapendo di aver lasciato la sua terra, una Istanbul che sente piu vera della Ginevra in cui si ora si trova a dover fare i conti. «I1 mio occhio perduto e il mio universo personale, la mia prigione, il mio fondo abissale. Un po’ condanna, un po’ salvezza».

C’e anche il tema dell’estraneita, quella sensazione che la donna sente spesso di vivere a Ginevra come dentro uno scenario, «un luogo onirico». E cosi giunge a capire che «col passare del tempo, nelle mie scoperte sempre piu approfondite, Istanbul appare piu vera», anche se la citta dalla quale sente di non essersi mai separata, quella della sua giovinezza, dei divieti e della mancanza di liberta, se la porta appresso come una

fotografia nel portafoglio, «con i ricordi di una giovane donna che si e persa e se n’e andata».

Asli Erdogan, per la profondita e la qualita della scrittura sembra rileggere una lezione forte, quella della scrittrice ungherese (ma naturalizzata svizzera) Agota Kristof, per raccontarci come l’uomo sia un pozzo scuro, senza fondo che affoga nelle profondita del dolore.

Den mirakulose mandarinen

Forfattare: Asli Erdogan Oversattare: Ulla Lundstrom Forlag: Ramus

Framlingskap utan granser

For ett decennium sedan fick den turkiska forfattaren Asli Erdogan sitt genombrott i hemlandet med romanen ”Staden med den roda kappan”, och sedan dess har hon kommit att betraktas som en av de tongivande rostema i sin generation. Berattelsen ar forlagd till Rio de Janeiro — en av de stader utanfor Turkiet dar forfattaren sjalv har varit bosatt — och exilens ensamhet ar central.

Nar Erdogan nu introduceras pa svenska med den nagot tidigare boken ”Den mirakulose mandarinen”, kanns mycket igen: det febriga ffamlingskapet tidvis varvat med minnesbilder ffan hemstaden Istanbul, det aterkommande dodsmedvetandet och irrandet i karlekens labyrinter.

Ocksa har moter vi en skrivande turkisk kvinna som bor utomlands, den har gangen i Geneve. Hon har forlorat bade sin pojkvan och sitt ena oga och flackar runt pa de nattliga gatoma i ett alltmer desperat sokande efter en utvag. Inte heller den kvinnliga litterara figur som hon har uppfunnit som

I den andra delen berattar en man som befinner sig i samma schweiziska stad sin historia, som ocksa den borjar i Istanbul och tecknar en karlek som slutar med att kvinnan drabbas av en sjukdom och dor. De bada berattelsema fogas inte till varandra pa nagot sjalvklart satt, men forlustema de rymmer korresponderar anda pa ett djupare plan, som tva fartyg som lagger sig bredvid varandra i

Ibland later Erdogan kulturella stereotyper slippa igenom — mexikaner med stora mustascher och brasilianare som tycker om att dansa eller forenklade beskrivningar av den europeiska kulturen. Betydligt skarpare tecknas det komplicerade forhallandet till det turkiska, som rymmer bade tillgivenhet och Iran kritik. Aven om det overgripande dramat inte kan skiljas ffan det personliga ar det inte framfor allt i den samhalleliga dimensionen som Erdogans styrka ligger, utan i den genomborrande blicken pa den enskildes dilemma. Dessutom ar det inte i forsta hand den geografiska exilen som plagar dessa karaktarer, de ar utlanningar i sjalva verkligheten: ”Mitt helvete hade varken med mitt fosterland eller med platsen dar jag vistades just nu att gora.”

Flera ganger under lasningen kommer jag att tanka pa Guy de Maupassants no veil ”Natten” dar huvudpersonen vandrar runt omgiven av nastan psykotiskt skarpa detaljer, som aven den slutar pa en bro. I sitt efterord gor Ulf Peter Hallberg ocksa en traffande koppling till Camus ”Fallet”.

Darmed har det antytts hur hart spanda de strangar som Erdogan spelar pa ar.

Det som imponerar mest ar fixeringen vid tillvarons riskabla nollpunkter. Karleken blir dar lika mycket smarta som lindring, vilket ocksa kommer till uttryck i den kinesiska legend som titeln

Sa vitt jag vet ar Asli Erdogan den forsta turkiska forfattare i generationema efter Orhan Pamuk som har oversatts till svenska. Det ar en valkommen introduktion, och man far hoppas att fler kan folja i hennes spar. Men framfor allt ar detta en forfattare som gar sin egen vag — vid sidan av trendemas och konjunkturemas snitslade banor — med en intensiv rost som svingar sig over

”It is a beautiful novel, with an uncompromising melancholy, as well in its attitude as in its language, which balances at the edge of some kind of elegant post—expressionism.”

— Dagens Nyheter 2009—01—07 (The largest daily newspaper)

”The world described is in loss of compassion, an existential martyrum which increases by the beautiful language, clear as glass.”

Svenska Dagbladet 2008—12—11 (The third largest daily newspaper)

”Erdogans language glitters clearly, lyrical and condensed, full of wonderful bittersweet sentences. It is a pearl with dark lustre. I hope many readers will discover it.”

— Norrkopings Tidningar 2008—10—18 (Regional daily newspaper. The critic had your novel on her best books of the year list. )

”With her sharp reflection Erdogan unveil here several senses of being ”half1 — as a woman, immigrant, Muslim and so on. And the underlying criticism of the novel against the view of ”the other” has only gained in importance during the years that have past since writing the novel. This account has, just all relevant contemporary literature, a range which reach far beyond its purpose.”

— Tidningen Kulturen 2008—10—21 (web—based Culture Journal)

”The destiny of the mandarin is certainly a bittersweet image of love, but more than that it points at the structure of the text itself: layer on layer it lies, unpaved, summary, vulnerable but complete. Strong images are weaved together with an everydayness to yet again butt toward a heavy symbolic.”

”In the second part of the novel some of the motives return — reminding of David Lynches Mulholland Drive the story turns itself around its own axle — and the interspersion is intricate.”

Aftonbladet 2008—12—08 (The largest evening newspaper)

”Sometimes Erdogan lets cultural stereotypes slip through — Mexicans with big beards and Brazilians who to dance or simplified portrayals of the European culture. Considerably sharper the complicated relation to the Turkish is sketched, which holds both devotion and biting sharp criticism. Even if the comprehensive drama cannot be separated from the personal it is not foremost in the social dimension the strength of Erdogan lies but in the piercing gaze on the dilemma of the individual. Besides it is not mainly the geographical exile that torments these characters, they are foreigners in the reality itself.”

”Most impressive is the fixation to the risky ground zero of existence love becomes as much pain as relief, which is also expressed in the Chinese legend that the title alludes to, the wound of the human being is opened in contact with the other.”

”Foremost this is an author who walks her own way — at the side of the blazed ways of trends and business cycles — with an intensive voice that swings over the national

Sydsvenskan, 2009—01—10 (The leading daily newspaper in Skane and the Oresund

”Asli Erdogan. Remember that name. The Turkish author Erdogan has enough literary gunpowder in her slender body to tremble a whole world.”

”Reading Erdogan is enter a landscape which consists of quicksand covered with a thin layer of soil. One takes a step out on the thin layer, which is the frame of the story, but soon one notice to be sucked in to totally different deeps with an unmistakable autobiographical bottom — the exile, love, violence, alienation, the ravaged landscape of childhood in Istanbul and the loneliness are some of the existential emotional experiences which form relief on the dream scenes of wandering in the night of Geneve.”

”The quality which carries her texts to literary heights is the dense and intensively vibrant poetic language.”

”The subtle lyrical breath in the prose of Erdogan serves a scalpel, which almost unnoticed cut the surface of reality exposing totally different, unforeseen dimensions.”

Helsingborgs dagblad, 2008—11—24 (daily newspaper)

Litterature TURQUIE «Je crois bien que cette nuit j’ai perdu la boule. C’est la deuxieme fois que je crois voir une femme borgne», dit un Turç ivre. Mais il ne revepas: dans la rue marche une femme, Turque âgale— ment, â I’ceil cache par un bandage. L’er— rance de cette emigree amoindrie passe â Geneve. L’ecrivaine stambouliote Asli (pro— noncer «Asleuh») Erdoðan situe dans la cite d’Henry Dunant son dernier roman, Le Mandarin miraculeux.

Rue de Lausanne, fa vieille ville, la Jonction: le roman turc visite Geneve, fait rare dans la litterature du pays du Bosphore. Asli Erdoðan (nee en 1967 â Istanbul) donne chair â une paumee avançant dans le noir — elle prefere la nuit au jour —, hantant des lieux mal fames, ecri— vant le soir au bistro. C’est pour fuir les in— terdits de son pays qu’ellea file en Suisse.

A I’arrivee, toutefois, la vie ne se montre pas tendre. L’exilee connaît une liai—son qui foire. La femme esseulee erre, ecar— telee entre ses cauchemars et le constat d’unejeunesse gâchee. Celle.don’t I’infirmite effraie les gens ressent â son tour une peur aigue du moment que le manque d’amour s’avere intolerable. Asli Erdoðan signe le ro—man d’une perte, d’un deuil abyssal. Et çâ et lâ, I’auteure sort, des phrases assassines sur Geneve: nombre de gens y ont fair d’articles de supermarche, pareils sous des embal— lages differents. Plus loin, Erdoðan depeint de façon acerbe la situation des jeunes issus de I’immigration habitant les Pâquis: «lls poussent comme des graines tombdes sur un sol etranger qui ne veut pas d’eux. De— puis leur venue au monde, ils vivent une tragddie cachee. A quinze a’ns, ils jettent sur

le rnonde des regards de quinquagenaires.» Toujours au sujet des Paquis, la Stamboulio¬te colie une etymologic bidon â ce quartier, soutenant que «Paquis» vient de «Pakis¬tan». Chacun son slum, sa croix de paria, done Erdoðan decrit un monde sans cohe¬rence ou chacun peut â n’importe que! mo¬ment se croire deplace. Le personnage prin¬cipal iâche: «Mon docteur a peut—Stre raison. Je dois prendre les choses trop â cceur», MARC—OLIVIER PARLATANO

Asli Erdoðan, Le Mandarin miraculeux, tr. du turc par Jean Descat, ed. Actes Sud, 2006,
111 pp.



”W* *T nk jcure femme 8 j erre dans les rues \m*S de Geneve, la nuit. II lui manque un o?i.I. Elle est. turque, mais surtout apatride. Apres avoir fuinuit d’ete. II pleut a verso. Au fond dujardin apparait une femme, trempee, qu’ii invite a se rcchauffer chez lui. Dans Parmoire de son epousc, elle choisit la plus belie robe, pendant quo ses vetements sechent. Ses propos sont aussi decousus qu’etrangcs, mais non demies d’un charme qui met pcu a peu a mal les certitudes du rnari fiddle. Cette femme sembie con— naitre les lienx, du mains entretient—elle un lien invi—sible et tacite qui laisse a dis—tance 1’hdte de la rnaison. Intrigue, 11 lui propose de la revoir, le remords et !e desir se melant dcja... Sabri a pris 1” habitude de converser avcc deux imagi— riaires acolytes.

Karagucuz et Khadjivad, les principaux personnages du theatre d ’ombres traditionnel turc. Dialogue silencieux per—manent entre les dxvcrses parties de sa conscience. Et celles—ci ne le laissem pas tranquille depuis que cctte apparition, mi—fan— tome, mi—femme fatale est entree dans sa vie. EUe reapparait au bout de quelques jours, pour lui consacrer une journce entiere, iaissant apparaltrc 1’un apres 1’autre ses divers visages, petite fille, per— sonnage de tragedie, folle peut—etre. Sabri, que rien ne predispose aux ecarts de conduite, aim ant sa femme, rcsponsable aupres de ses enfants, sc laisse potu tam sedutre. derouter, inquieter dans ses certitudes. Au fur et a mesure que le jour baisse, la peur s’empare de ia femme. Et les souvenirs resurgis— sent. .. La rencontre, d‘uri ho mine et d’une femme, d’un passe et d’un present, cet i nstant de la coincidence, est. dans ce roman fugace et fulgurantc, esquissee et. pro fonde, semantic trouble chez des personnages qui par elle se reveleni, en restant sem— blables a eux—memes. Ce petit roman qui pourrait etre une nouvelle, mete a la reminiscence d’un passe flamboyant, un tableau plus modc—rnc d’une Turquie occidentalisce. Ahmet Harndi Taupinar, Tun des grands auteurs uucs, l’a eemen 1956, sept ansavant sa mon «*

les interdUs et violences dont fut faite sajeurtesse, elle decouvre la solitude de rimmigrec, de la femme orientate et mu dice, de I’amante econduite. Son amant, Sergio, avec qui la ville etait devenue un asile, l’a abandonnee. EUe na rien fait pour le rctenir, par fierce, par peur aussi de s’abandonner, de dormer et de perdre. Sans doute a—t—elle vecu la—bas une experience qui lui a rendu I’amour dangereux. Aussi a—t—elle vaincment cultive l’insensibilitc, a tel point que ic bon heur menace rait sa tranquillitc * latendressc, dit—elte, btise parfois ceux qui en ont le plus besoin ». Mats, attachce a I’indepen— da nee conquise duranl ses jeunes anriees par le refus des regies imposecs aux femmes de son pays, elle a cette luddite : « Jesuis incapable de dessiner la frontiere qui separe le desir de praleger de celvi de regtier », EUe se mefie des homines. Et promcne sa doulcur et ses disillusions dans les rues mal famees de la propre Geneve. Ce quarter d’immigres od la vie et la misere la renvoient a ses propres echoes. Le souvenir du Bosphore s’invite souvent dans ses escapades nocturnes. Elle n’est plus que nostalgic, un ceil perdu comme une patrie, un ceil ouvert sur I’obscurite. « L’amour a un ceil He hop \ dit—ellc. Rcgu— liercment, die sarrete dans les cafes pour ecrirc et s’ invent e un double en tour, different, inspire d’une superbe el ctrange femme croisec dans un restaurant. Mais memc ce double fictif sera rattrape par la rcalitc, toujours brutalc. La jeunr Turque a fait de sa peur tin mode de vie, faisant peur a son tour, a ceux que la dif—ference menace, exhibant son ocil bande pour fortifier sa solitude. Ash Erdogan, dans ce recit. poctiquc, ou la mclancolie joue le role du tragique, depeint on impression nistc la de tress e de I’immigre, etrangcr a lui—me me ou qu’il soil •


Laveggi, Erdoðan, deux femmes pour un eloge de la brievete

u” acile Laveggî a toujours eu Fart . de la concision. Non pour etre . JL—.—J allusive, mats au contraire pour «(firmer avec netted, sans d&ours, ce qu’on rlptigne soüvent â dire, voire â s’avouer â soi—raSme.

Des trois romans qtt’elie a publics depths 1992 (1), Je premier, La Spectatriee, est le plus long (142 pages), dironique pertinents et adds d’une generation qui a pröne la revolution ’ avant de s’abîmer clans I’erabourgeoisement, line rose en hiver (Ý99Ð, 88 pages) est, â travers les derniers jours d’une mere, une reflexion sur k meat dans la societl contemporaine, et la maniere de Fevacuer, par peur — anonymat de riiöpital, disparition rapide. Quant â Damien (2000,94 pages), c’est une breve et dmouvaute evocation du eineaste Jean Eustaclte, qui s’est suicide an 1981.
Avec Le Sourire de Stravinsky’, c’est la figure d’un pere qui est au centre du reeit. Une femme veut ecrire un livre stir Igor Stravinsky, mass elle doit vdller sur son vieux pdre. «• II ne sent de xi carapace que pour ânettre des signes d’humeur negative » et. Men entendu, nc s’enquiert pas du travail de $& fille sur le musicien. Lorsqu’elle lui a fait part de son projet, * U a fait la moue, sa

petite moue ravageante, et il s’estmis â siffloter Elle avail une jambe de bois, la chanson de music—hall que Stravinsky a inþâm dans Petrouclika »,

las narratriee dit avec precision falienalion qu’est cet accompagnement, la tristesse, mais aussi la repulsion sýýþdtee par ce pere renonçant â tout, s’absentant du monde avant meme de le quitter. Face k cette desegregation sürgit î’image de Stravinsky, octogenaire, se mettant « « .son piano, dmx heures, le matin, pour repousser la mart, qui Veffraie ».

D’un c6t£ une existence contrarke : une passion pour le violon dâcouragde par une mere reveche; une cani&re militaire interrompue â cause d’une epouse trop malade pour supporter le elimat du Maroc, ou le pere etait en garnison. Le violon, longtemps compagnon des mauvais jours, rang6 au—dessus d’une armoire,.et l’ennoi du quotidien dans k vie civile.

D’un autre, týn destin fait de combats et d’exOa, d’echecs et de victoires, et dont le renoncement, jusqu’au dernier jour, est absent. Stravinsky et « son sourire de chat». c Ccst pour que jy vote, souligne la narratriee, entre les plis qui encadrent sa bouche, k souvenir de ses combats ct la splendour de sa musiqm. » ’

Dans le parallels entre un visage qui s’efface — le pâre — et le fameux sourire de Stravinsky « mysterieux et grinçant» — « Sije poavais dire tout ce que son sourire contknt, man livre þerait dejâ âcrit» le livre commence â s’ecrire. Puis le pere meurt et Stravinsky semble prendre toute la place. Mais pourquoi Stravinsky, entre taut d’autres musicien $, par example Maurice Ravel, le prefere du pere,


dont la fille ddcouvre une photo en militaire, cachee dans un livre ? Ravel qui a ecrit â Stravinsky eu 1923 pour dire combien il a aime Notes. Serait—ce â cause de cette Histoire du soldat (texts de Ramuz), ou le son du violon est si strident, oil Stravinsky conduit le soldat « vers sa chute le pausse

sans pitie dans la trap pa du neant» ?

Et si elle avait choisi Stravinsky a cause de son pere, qui n’a su lire ni vraiment musicien, ni tout â fait soldat ? Du reste, ne se ressemblent—ils pas, physiquemenr? Â la fin du rdcit, la question reste en

suspens, mais tout le livre de Lucile Laveggi a donnd la reponse.

La briâvete et la precision sont aussi les qualites d’Asli Erdoðan. Elle est nee en 1967 â Istanbul. Aprils des etudes de physique, elle est partie pour Rio «’et depuis, precise son dditeur, elle voyage riguliirement â travers k monde ». Cette unmade âcrit des poemes et des romans. Le Mandarin miraculeux est son deuxiema livre traduit en français, apres La ville dont la cape est rouge (2).

A travers les deambulations nocturnes, dans Geneve, d’une femme blessde, c’est toute une vie liee aux interdits et aux dangers— qu’evoque Asli Erdoðan, Sa narratriee est doublement blessee. L’homme qu’elle aimait Fa quittee, et peu de temps apres, elle a ete atteinte d’une curieuse maladie.

Elle va perdre Foci! gauche, porte un affreux pansement et se souvient de cette phrase du Mahâbhârata :

« L’amour a un ceil de trop.»

« Geneve est I’endroit revi pour se promencr la nut an hasard des rues. Avant tout, cette výlis est sûre jusqu’d I’ennui.» Rien â voir avec les dangers qu’elle bravait, adolescente, dans son pays, quand elle vuulait sortir settle, tard le soil’. Poor echapper au destin des femmes turques, elle a choisi l’exil Avec Sergio, elle a era trouver un

amour qui la sauverait de son etrai mat de vivre. Mais lui aussi l’a rent â sa solitude, agp’avee par sa bless au visage, qui detourne presque tot les autres d’eüe.
Alors elle rnarche et elle ecrit, le generalement, dans des cafes. Elle. invente un double de fiction, qu’ell— appelle Michelle, et qui contrairem elle ne prendrait pas «les chases tre çatýr» — seion le mot du midecin t tente de soigner son ceil.

« Quand Michelle est en marche, t dent tite au monde aider.» « Comr, Sergio, die est infatigabk dans sa qu d’amour et de bonhettr. » Mais men les personnages de fiction meurent rappelant que, definitivement, « no etions seals dam ce voyage vers nous—mimes ».m

Galitmard. c L’lnfini», 92 p.. 9,50 €.

d’Asli Erdoðan.

Traduit du turc par Jean Descat, Actes Sud. 112 p„



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