Whilst Beckett is a noticeable influence on this text, sitting just out of the sightline is the presence of Raymond Queneau, the French novelist who displayed his mathematical education, his first book, Le Chiendent, “composed of ninety-one sections (seven chapters, each made up of thirteen sections) because 91 is the sum of the numbers from 1 to 13, the ultimate sum of its own digits being again 1. Each of the ninety-one sections of Le Chiendent in turn observes its own inner unity, each adhering to the three unities of time, place, and action, but also strictly confined to one single genre of narration…” And from there it goes on to reveal its other model, Ulysses. This quote, pencil-marked in the margins in the 60s in The Novelist as Philosopher, Studies in French Fiction 1935-1960, edited by John Cruickshank, was an early part of my self-education, in my teens visiting the local public library, catching the seeds, indicating that ‘my own choice’ to pursue sciences at school had another possible outcome, a way into something that might become: another life. This book, subsequently bought after I was prevented from continual library renewal, weighed in with chapters on Blanchot and Robbe-Grillet, as well as Sartre, Queneau, Beckett, de Beauvoir, Cayrol and Camus, a book worthy of a place on many a shelf, besides mine.
Somewhere there is a filmscript version of Pimot, my first small book, bought by Lorrimer films, not for Peter Whitehead to direct, but Anthony Stern, with the humorous suggestion that I play the lead role, alongside a short-list of well-known young women to play Donna, that I’m refraining from naming here. The day I co-wrote the script with Diane (who managed Lorrimer), the noise of Soho’s Old Compton Street as our background, was the day I also turned down an offer that would have almost certainly changed my life… another road loaded with an aphrodisiac that would have plunged me into films.
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