“Plus rien n’a d’importance à présent.”
plew reeYAA nah daa-por-tah sah pray-ZAH. Click below to hear this.
Nothing else has any importance now.
Another look at Muriel Barbery’s novel, Une gourmandise.
It’s a difficult book in French, written in very learned language and full of obscure words. It’s worth the fight, though: A world-famous food critic, demanding, perfectionist, self-absorbed, cantankerous, is trying to remember a taste, the perfect dish, the food that once made him supremely happy. The entire book is a luscious and lush description of tastes, smells, textures, even sounds–crunching, crackling, bubbling, sizzling–of the best dishes of his life.
It is the last day of his life. He knows it. All else fades: “Plus rien n’a d’importance à présent.” Except this one thing: to remember the one taste which surpasses all the extravagant and fine foods he has eaten in his life, the amazing and memorable dishes of which he has partaken. Sauf cette saveur que je poursuis dans les limbes de ma mémoire… Except for this flavor I am chasing in the limbo of my memory…
How difficult it is to remember and yet not remember, to search for a word, an image, so close that you can almost see its shape, feel it on your tongue! And what a flood of satisfaction we experience when it finally comes to us, a sensation of completeness and perfection and joy!
That is this book. The search itself becomes more and more compelling, as the critic recalls meal after meal, comes to realize
- that the saveur he seeks is more than taste but also a feeling, a whole package of sensations that overhwelmed him as a youth and overwhelms him again with absolute well-being.
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