The white dress by Nathalie Léger

The White Dress by Nathalie Léger

French fiction

Original title – La Robe blanche

Translator – Natascha Lehrer

Source – personal copy

When it comes towards the end of the year I look at end of the year list for translated fiction and try and find a few books that have passed me by in the last year this is one such book I have read other titles from the published Les Fugitives a publisher that has been publishing interesting books by female writers from France over the last couple of years. This is the latest book written by Nathalie Leger. this the last in three books she had written about women she had discovered in her work as a curator of various exhibitions. This novel is based on a true story about the last few weeks in the life of Italian Performance Artist Pippa Bacca.

One of Guiseppina’s most important creations was called Eva Adamovich. Certain days, as her friends and relativesdecribed at the inquest, Pippa became Eva, and as Eva, whom Guiseppina had invented from head to foot, as Eva she had all the desirable assests : vivacity, daring , a tounch of cruelty – though it was all an act, her friends insisted. Dressed up as Eva, inhabiting Eva,she strode briskly throug the streets of milan in twelve centimetre heels, a tiny pair of shorts, a greem lame sweater and a boa, calling everyone “love” or “sweetheart”, like she was tough as nails letting it be nderstood that she knew all about mrn, that she didn’t trust them.

This was one of the roles she performed over the years.

This is a strange mix of real-life and a personal memoir and the writer thinking about the events that lead up to the last few weeks of the life of Italian performance artist Pippa Back. As we find the events that lead Pippa to run in a white wedding dress from Milan to Jeruselum in the wedding dress as a walk for peace and to do performance using people she knew along the way as the trip was a video for a later date. This sparks an inner journey that is taken by the writer on a journey through her own parent’s divorce and the bitter affair that she viewed from her mother’s side and the fact that she was abandoned when her father ran off with another woman. Meanwhile, we see events in Pippa’s life like when she played Eva Adamovich a role she played. in high heels and short shorts. Also a thread about performance art over the years. Pippa makes it to Turkey. When her sister doesn’t hear from her this leads to a search and the sad end to her walk for peace.

The artis, her name is Jana Sterbak, wove wire into a long, straight dress with open arms, long sleeves and a round neckline that stands on the floor some say like a shelter, other like a cage, and belted at the waistby an electrified filament made of nickel chrome that makes the dress light up when someone approaches. The dress stands errectg, possessive and threatening, welcoming qand repelling, it is called I want you t feel the way I do ..(The Dress)

Another dress sparked by the wearing of the dress by Pippa bacca in her walk for peace.

I am leaving the end of the book and the last section where the writer views those events that end the walk this is a book about the writer as much as Pippa Bacca. What I Like is the way little events in the life of Pippa make Nathalie think of her own life. This is a mix of c=fiction biography but also a creative enquiring mind. It is about those mind journeys that we all take when we read about or discover some new fact or life story that is what we have here the sparks of a mind those journeys the two take through the book and how Pippa walk although cut short inspired a personal introspection of the writer I will read the two earlier books in this loose trilogy. them two both inspired by the work she has worked on over the years. Have you read this book did it inspire you? This is why we read books in translation those books that break the mould in the Form.

 

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Dec 20, 2020 @ 22:57:51

    This sounds like a must-read Stu. A couple of years ago I read Heather Rose’s prize-winning The Museum of Modern Love, which is about the performance artist Marina Abramović which reinforced my view that performance art is a kind of therapy for the person doing it. (As indeed lots of books and music are a kind of therapy for the author or composer).
    I will wait until you’ve finished the first two, to see if I should order all three or just this one.
    I’m sorry things are turning out so badly with C19 in the UK. I hope that you and Amanda and all your family and friends stay safe and well. Just remember if you are feeling down in the dumps about Christmas that there are people all over the world who care about you and also admire you for the way you have continued to read and review and share your books with us to light up an an otherwise dark year.
    Stay safe and well, Lisa

    Reply

    • winstonsdad
      Dec 20, 2020 @ 23:00:47

      Yes Marina Abramovic is an interesting artist.We are well doing are best to keep safe i’m having test twice a week from work. just waiting for his to be all over hope you are well lisa and have a great christmas

      Reply

      • Lisa Hill
        Dec 20, 2020 @ 23:06:03

        We are fine here in Melbourne for now because we have eliminated local transmission through tough lockdown restrictions, but there has been a bad outbreak in Sydney and of course there’s been lots of travel for Christmas so we are waiting anxiously to know if they have brought it here.

      • winstonsdad
        Dec 20, 2020 @ 23:07:36

        well we will see the disaster off not shutting london earlier in week as it was chaos with people leaving so spreading new strain figures here in chesterfield low at moment

      • Lisa Hill
        Dec 22, 2020 @ 15:35:41

        Never have we needed sensible government more!

  2. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Dec 21, 2020 @ 11:17:14

    Love the sound of this Stu. You’re quite right that translated fiction brings so many wonderful books that break the mould. Have a wonderful Christmas and stay safe!

    Reply

  3. TravellinPenguin
    Dec 22, 2020 @ 21:43:25

    I love the journeys we take in our mind when we read. All the best Stu to you and your wife for Christmas. 2021 will be better. I always enjoy your posts though don’t often comment. Take care. 🐧🎄🤠🎄

    Reply

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