Thursday, 5 July 2012

Yolaine Destremau: NUMEROS MASQUES


May 2012, 176 pages

            The captivating story of a woman who gets caught up in an absurd quest for a missing Picasso painting; pouring her life and savings into the search, she slowly descends into madness.
Sorting through his papers after the death of her father, Ingrid stumbles across a photo of a portrait of her grandmother painted by Picasso. Convinced that the painting must have been sold on the black market, she gradually becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking it down.
So Ingrid decides to quit her job as a professor of philosophy, sell her apartment and hire a private eye on the down and out. She winds up spending the last of her savings on a trip to the United States to meet with an expert painting hunter, Luis Selinonte. Along the way, having turned into something of a kleptomaniac, she steals one of Picasso’s sketchbooks from a museum.
Ingrid manages to seduce Selinonte, but he doesn’t turn out to be of much use in her quest. Finally, worn out and broke, sleeping in a train station with the homeless people, she decides to give up, and to sell the notebook on the black market.
The last time we see Ingrid, she is stumbling along a beach in Miami, trembling, clutching her bag and mumbling like a madwoman... until she gets mugged by a man who knocks her out and makes off with the bag in which she kept the famous sketchbook.
Fascinating, absurd and touching, this novel uses the art world as a backdrop for a subtle and skillful portrait of a woman hittin rock bottom.
            Yolaine Destremau has been a painter and a literary translator. She now devotes herself to her writing, and is the author of WHITE NOISE, JOURS DE SOUFFRANCE, ORTIZ, CELLE QUI TRIOMPHE and L'OMBRE DES JARACANDAS.