In Madame Chamar*s transparent house Hugh Person (the main character in VN*s novel Transparent Things, 1972) feels like a voyeur malgr谷 lui:


"I now leave you for some minutes," said Madame Chamar, and in full view of the public ascended with ponderous energy the completely visible and audible stairs leading to a similarly overt second floor, where one could see a bed through an open door and a bidet through another. Armande used to say that this product of her late father's art was a regular showpiece attracting tourists from distant countries such as Rhodesia and Japan.

The albums were quite as candid as the house, though less depressing. The Armande series, which exclusively interested our voyeur malgr谷 lui, was inaugurated by a photograph of the late Potapov, in his seventies, looking very dapper with his gray little imperial and his Chinese house jacket, making the wee myopic sign of the Russian cross over an invisible baby in its deep cot. (chapter 12)


In his essay on Turgenev (in ※The Silhouettes of Russian Writers§) Ayhenvald calls Bazarov, the main character in Turgenev*s novel Ottsy i deti (※Fathers and Sons,§ 1862), ※a nihilist malgr谷 lui


圻扼找抆, 扭把忘志忱忘, 我 忪我戒扶抆 志 抉找扶抉扮快扶我我 坎忘戒忘把抉志忘 抗 孜快扶我折抗快, 快扼找抆 折找抉-找抉 扶快忪扶抉快 我 折快抖抉志快折快扼抗我 抒抉把抉扮快快 志 抉忌把忘投快扶我我 快忍抉 扼 妤忘志抖抉技 妤快找把抉志我折快技 志抉 志把快技攸 忱批改抖我, 我 技扶抉忍抉快 忱把批忍抉快 志 改找抉技 扶我忍我抖我扼找快 malgre lui, 扭抉 把忘扼扭抉把攸忪快扶我攻 扭我扼忘找快抖攸, 找忘抗 扼我技扭忘找我折扶抉 我 扼志快找抖抉, 扶抉 志扼攻 改找批 扭把我志抖快抗忘找快抖抆扶抉扼找抆 我扼抗忘忪忘快找 扶快 抉扼找忘志抖攸攻投忘攸 妥批把忍快扶快志忘 扭把快忱志戒攸找忘攸 技抑扼抖抆, 折找抉 快技批 扶快抖抆戒攸 扭我扼忘找抆 抉忌抑抗扶抉志快扶扶抉忍抉, 扶快 扼抒快技忘找我折快扼抗抉忍抉 忍快把抉攸 我 折找抉 坎忘戒忘把抉志 扶快扭把快技快扶扶抉 忱抉抖忪快扶 志抑抄找我 扶我忍我抖我扼找抉技.


The characters of TT include Mr. R., the writer. Mr. R. is a Baron. In his essay on Turgenev Ayhenvald mentions the beautiful madness of Princess R. (a character in ※Fathers and Sons§):


妖忘扮 把抉技忘扶我扼找 抉忌抖快抗忘抖 抖攻忌抉志抆 志 我戒抑扼抗忘扶扶抑快 扳抉把技抑, 扭把快扶快忌把快忍忘抖 快忸 志快抖我抗抉抄 扭把抉扼找抉找抉攻 我 快扼找快扼找志快扶扶抉扼找抆攻, 志 扭把抉找我志抉扭抉抖抉忪扶抉扼找抆 妥抉抖扼找抉技批, 我, 扭把我忱批技抑志忘攸 把忘戒扶抑快 抗抉技忌我扶忘扯我我 抖攻忌志我, 我扼抗忘抖 快忸 技忘忍我我 志扶快 忪我戒扶我, 志 抗忘抗抉技-扶我忌批忱抆 抗把忘扼我志抉技 忌快戒批技我我 抗扶攸忍我扶我 妓. 我戒 "妍找扯抉志 我 忱快找快抄"; 抉扶 志扼快忍忱忘 我扶找快把快扼抉志忘抖扼攸, 抖攻忌攸找 抖我 快忍抉 忍快把抉我 抒批忱抉忪快扼找志抉, 我扼抗批扼扼找志抉, 折我找忘攻找 抖我 抉扶我 扼找我抒我 我 把抉技忘扶抑 我抖我 扶快找 (抗忘抗 扶快 折我找忘抖忘 我抒 圾快把忘 妖我抗抉抖忘快志扶忘 我戒 "孜忘批扼找忘"), 我 改找抉 志扶快扮扶快 改扼找快找我折快扼抗抉快 技快把我抖抉 我忍把忘快找 批 扶快忍抉 忌抉抖抆扮批攻 把抉抖抆 每 忌抉抖抆扮批攻, 折快技 志扶批找把快扶扶攸攸, 扭把我把抉忪忱快扶扶忘攸, 扶快 抗扶我忪扶忘攸 抗把忘扼抉找忘 抖攻忱快抄.


When Hugh Person visits Villa Nastia, Madame Chamar is reading Mr. R.*s novel Figures in a Golden Window (a copy that belongs to Armande):


A little farther, an interval in the stone wall revealed a short flight of stairs and the door of a whitewashed bungalow signed Villa Nastia in French cursive. As happens so often in R.'s fiction, "nobody answered the bell." Hugh noticed several other steps lateral to the porch, descending (after all that stupid climbing!) into the pungent dampness of boxwood. These led him around the house and into its garden. A boarded, only half-completed splash pool adjoined a small lawn, in the center of which a stout middle-aged lady, with greased limbs of a painful pink, lay sun-bathing in a deck chair. A copy, no doubt the same, of the Figures et cetera paperback, with a folded letter (which we thought wiser our Person should not recognize) acting as marker, lay on top of the one-piece swimsuit into which her main bulk had been stuffed. (chapter 12)


In his essay on Turgenev Ayhenvald mentions the writer*s favorite figura (figure):


妍扶 找抉忪快 每 抖我扮扶我抄 折快抖抉志快抗; 快扼找抆 批 扶快忍抉, 扭抉 抗把忘抄扶快抄 技快把快, 技扶抉忍抉 折快把找 改找抉抄 我戒抖攻忌抖快扶扶抉抄 妥批把忍快扶快志抑技 扳我忍批把抑.

He [Bazarov], too, is a superfluous man; at least, he has many features of this figure beloved by Turgenev.


The phrase mnogo chert (many features) used by Ayhenvald brings to mind the Russian word for ※devils:§ cherti. The narrators in TT seem to be the devils. In his last letter to his publisher Mr. R. mentions the department his poor soul is assigned to:


Dear Phil,

This, no doubt, is my last letter to you. I am leaving you. I am leaving you for another even greater Publisher. In that House I shall be proofread by cherubim 每 or misprinted by devils, depending on the department my poor soul is assigned to. (chapter 21)


Judging by the gross mistake in the novel*s last sentence (※Easy, you know, does it, son§), Mr. R. went straight to Hell (and became a devil himself). In Switzerland Mr. R. lives at Diablonnet:


Madame Chamar answered in the noncommittal negative - though she might have consulted the telltale book marker, but out of a mother's instinctive prudence refrained from doing so. Instead she popped the paperback into her garden bag. Automatically, Hugh mentioned that he had recently visited its author.

"He lives somewhere in Switzerland, I think?"

"Yes, at Diablonnet, near Versex."

"Diablonnet always reminds me of the Russian for 'apple trees': yabloni. He has a nice house?"

"Well, we met in Versex, in a hotel, not at his home. I'm told it's a very large and a very old-fashioned place. We discussed business matters. Of course the house is always full of his rather, well, frivolous guests. I shall wait for a little while and then go." (chapter 12)


Madame Chamar (n谷e Anastasia Petrovna Potapov) is the daughter of a wealthy cattle dealer from Ryazan. In his poem Ne zhaleyu, ne zovu, ne plachu (※I don't regret, I don't call back, I don't weep," 1921) Esenin (who came from a village near Ryazan) says: vsyo proydyot kak s belykh yablon' dym ("everything will pass like the haze off white apple trees"). Dym (※Smoke,§ 1867) is a novel by Turgenev. It is the smoke that kills Hugh Person (who dies in a fire in the Ascot Hotel in Witt). Turgenev is the author of Pozhar na more (※A Fire at Sea,§ 1883). In TT the bottom of an immemorial more (sea) is mentioned:


His memory, in the meantime, kept following its private path. Again he was panting in her merciless wake. Again she was teasing Jacques, the handsome Swiss boy with fox-red body hair and dreamy eyes. Again she flirted with the eclectic English twins, who called gullies Cool Wars and ridges Ah Rates. Hugh, despite his tremendous physique, had neither the legs nor the lungs to keep up with them even in memory. And when the foursome had accelerated their climbing pace and vanished with their cruel ice axes and coils of rope and other instruments of torture (equipment exaggerated by ignorance), he rested on a rock, and, looking down, seemed to see through the moving mists the making of the very mountains that his tormentors trod, the crystalline crust heaving up with his heart from the bottom of an immemorial more (sea). (chapter 23)


Alexey Sklyarenko

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