13 février 2004

:: L'auteur manquant

J'ai trouvé cette histoire dans un article du Guardian sur Paul Auster datant de mai 1999:
" A funny thing happened the day I went to interview Paul Auster in New York. Well, I say funny, but that's perhaps too strong a word. And yet later, looking back, it did take on a kind of humour; an Austerian humour. Something, anyway, that I think would make Auster laugh. It was a beautiful day and, since I had a few hours to kill before making my way over to his home in Brooklyn, I walked downtown to Union Square and into the five-storey Barnes and Noble bookshop, a bibliophiles' heaven. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, certainly not for books by Auster.

Still, as I browsed, some impulse made me go up to the fourth floor, to where works of fiction are alphabetically housed, and inch my way along the shelves to the letter A. There, between Austen and Balzac, between Atwood and Ballard, at the point, in other words, where you would expect to find Auster... Not a thing. A gap. For a moment, I have to say, this shook me. But then, as I pondered the meaning of this absence, it began to take on the aspect of some fantastic joke. Of course, it was right. That the man who has made his literary identity out of the search for his own identity. The man who has turned the problematic question 'Who am I?' into the solution, 'I am the man who is asking that question.' That he would not be in the place where you would expect to find him. What could be more apt? It was then that I saw the sign. A small card, and on it these enigmatic words: 'If you are looking for Paul Auster, ask downstairs.' This was even better. A trail. Because wasn't this the whole purpose of my trip to New York, to seek and to find Auster. Wasn't I, in some small measure, playing the detective, the seeker after truth; not unlike Auster's own metaphysical detective Quinn in his wonderful The New York Trilogy. I ran, almost jumped, down the four escalators.

'I am looking for Paul Auster,' I shouted at the girl behind the counter. 'Which one?' she asked. I was ready for this. 'The real one,' I replied. She pointed behind her. There, arrayed on a long shelf, were all of Auster's books, and next to them the books of Dashiell Hammett, and next to those the books of William Burroughs. 'People steal them,' she said. So here, then, was the all-too plausible solution to my little mystery. Money. No mystery at all, in fact. Just a neatly constructed plot of cause and effect. In the confrontation between fiction and reality, reality had once again won hands down. "
Ce passage m'a arrété parce qu'au mois de Septembre dernier, alors que j'étais à New-York, je suis allé dans ce même Barnes & Noble, et par hasard, alors que je ne recherchais pas de livres de Paul Auster, j'ai exactement constaté ce que raconte l'auteur de l'article et, poussé par la curiosité, j'ai à peu près posé la même question et il m'a été fait quasiment la même réponse!

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