Homage to Nicolas Bouvier
We think that we’re going to read The Way of the World, but it soon becomes evident that it’s The Way of the World that has got hold of us. This is how it starts: to begin with you can’t read anything else, that you can accept, but soon you can’t read anything at all. Bouvier has a way of squeezing out each moment of happiness till the very last drop and preserving the product of this distillation in the phials of his memory in order to draw on it for his survival each time that happiness can’t be found… And for you, where does that leave you? You understand intensely what an enormous turmoil it must have meant for Nicolas Bouvier to fix this journey forever in the scarcity of his words: words perfectly made one for the other, that it becomes intolerable to not be him, at the time and the place when he wrote.
We have to exorcize this book, to reopen it, to accept that it can be a companion on the road of life again- that’s to say how it is possible to recount today, to paraphrase Nicolas, what it means to “undo” The Way of The World.
Others, dealing with the same problem, had the chance to sort out this question face to face with him. This is not the case for us. Nicolas Bouvier died in 1998. At that time we hadn’t yet been completely obsessed by The Way. Years later, when it became pressing to offload the weight, seeing that Nicolas was long longer there, the only way to do it was to make the trip.
L’Usure du Monde has been published by Le Bec en l’air.