Excerpt: 'Univers univers' by Régis Jauffret


Photography by Underpuppy

From The White Review:


You remember your childhood. Your tow-headed, reddish-tinged mother, who yelled after you all day like a Paraguayan peasant chasing her donkey. And your father flattened in front of the TV, murmuring curses against the people flickering on the screen. Your grades at school were average, pathetic, as you competed against the ones at the top of the class with their brilliance adapted to hedge-hopping teachers’ brains who flitted from idea to another on stage like macaques.

Your sexuality came out in full bloom next to a friend, masturbating at the same time in a basement, a disused bathhouse. Then a prostitute, then a kid your age, wild but inept, and a stream of others to give your childhood a feeling of recklessness. But it’s more likely that, too shy and lacking any charm, you never learned much about the world and all these years now seem to you like a black hole centred around your puberty.

Then you got married, you procreated, you bought a place to live, furniture, obedient and laborious things, and day after day tons of food, whittled away, expelled, mixed together by the sewers of the city in a communal digestion by all its inhabitants, comprising the furious ones and those who were at each other’s throats when they met each other on the street. You’ve had the same job for fifteen years, they like you, they’re getting ready to lay you off, to transfer you, it’s a promotion, a disgrace, they’re waiting for you to hand in your letter of resignation, nobody’s got a bleaker outlook than you, you’re following a useless line of arguing, they’ll make you a cardinal, you’ll become the pope of this company of fleas, of salad bowls, and if you’re a female, you’ll be the first woman to hold this post since this company was founded in the century of lights.

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