A Terrace in Rome
By Pascal Quignard. Translated by Douglas Penick, Charles Ré.
The first English translation of the novel awarded the 2000 Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie FrançaiseA Terrace in Rome describes the tormented life of Geoffroy Meaume, a 17th-century engraver of encrypted shadows and erotic prints. After a passionate affair in his youth concludes with his face being burned by acid thrown by his lover’s jealous fiancé, Meaume undertakes a lifetime of wandering, his psyche forever engraved by the memory of the woman who spurned him. With a face of boiled leather and a mind haunted by a nightmare of desire, he devotes himself to the black-and-white world of etchings and mezzotints, forsaking the paradise of color to engage in a science of shadows. This fragmented narrative of a man attacked by images is related in 47 short chapters which themselves act as engravings; a tale told by an antiquarian, full of fragmented vision and sexual hell. First published in French in 2000, A Terrace in Rome received the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie Française that same year, and went on to be translated into 19 languages. This is its first appearance in English.
Pascal Quignard (born 1948) has written over 60 books of fiction, essays, and his own particular genre of philosophical reflection that straddles the personal journal, historical narrative and poetic theory. His books in English include Albucius, All the World’s Mornings, The Sexual Night, Sex and Terror, On Wooden Tablets: Apronenia Avitia, and The Salon in Wurttemberg, as well as the multiple volumes of his ongoing book project The Last Kingdom, which, to date, includes The Roving Shadows, The Silent Crossing and Abysses.
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The Quarterly Conversation
To say that Pascal Quignard's words are a meditation or an exploration is too simplistic - there is a philosophical stream of consciousness in his writing that has a realism both enlightened and carnal which attempts to grasp the essence of human nature in a handful of grand themes.