blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Obscurantism and obfuscation in "La Disparition"

This month I'm borrowing a library book from Nicola V. (who will talk with 8 of us on Saturday about sponsoring a family hoping to find asylum from Syria in Canada). Two books, actually, as I'm also studying it in translation. In its original, this is La Disparition, publ. Gallimard. Its translator––who was obviously thinking: too bad that Brits, Canadians, Australians can't lap this up as I do!––calls it A Void. It's a thoroughly astonishing whodunnit, downright confusing, full of "mystification and rationalisation, obscurantism and obfuscation". (In fact, that's a quotation from G. Adair's translation, towards its conclusion).

How unusual it is! What fun! An amazingly long story, a concoction from a taboo, a constraint, as its author did not, could not, would not allow a particular unit of normal vocabulary (or syllabary, you might say) to go into its composition:
I ought to admit right away that its origin was totally haphazard, touch and go, a flip of a coin. It all got out of hand with a companion calling my bluff (I said I could do it, this companion said I could not); and I should admit, too, that [...] I had no inkling at all that, as an acorn contains an oak, anything solid would grow out of it [...] but I stuck to my guns.
His yarn and its translation––indubitably a fairly arduous pursuit!––has a highly significant omission. From start to finish, as in this, my dubious blogpost of today, you'll find not a solitary ...

Can you work out what it is?

Hint: La Disparition's protagonist is a M. Voyl (Mr. Vowl).


CWC said...

Chris wanted me to figure it out so I'll CTRL-V what I emailed him. I really hope I'm correct!


More than 30 years ago when the House of Speculative Fiction was still alive
on Fourth Avenue I was making little jokes with Roger (the boss) about being
called Chuck Clark-no-e. As in Cordwainer Smith's Mr. Grey-no-more character
in "The Lady Who Sailed the *Soul*".

AW also gave it away, even though I had to look up SYLLABARY.

I'll be impressed if you tell me you know where Meeya Meefla is.


CWC said...

No way *I* could do what you did in your post, BTW.

But, to add difficulty for *you* - how many forms of your post could carry similar gist?