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Daniel Pennack - Like a Novel

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The verb "read" does not tolerate the imperative. The incompatibility that he shares with some others: "to love" ... "to dream" ...

You can try, of course. Are we trying? “Love me!” “Dream!” “Read!” “Yes, read, parasite; whoever is told - read!”

- March to yourself and read!

He fell asleep over a book. The window suddenly seemed to him an exit into some tempting distance - there he flew away. Fleeing the book. But he sleeps sensitively: the open book still lies before him. If we sneak a peek at the door, we will see: he is sitting at the table and diligently reading. Even if sneaking up quite silently, he will hear us through the thin veil of slumber.

- Do you like?

He will not answer no, he will not commit sacrilege. The book is sacred, how can you not like to read? “The descriptions are too long,” is what he will say.

Reassured, we will return to the TV. Perhaps even his remark will cause a lively discussion between us and one of ours ...

“The descriptions seem to him too long.” Well, it can be understood, we live in the age of audio and video, and in the nineteenth century, writers had to describe everything in detail ...

- So what? All the same, this is not a reason to skip half the pages!

No need to strain, he fell asleep again.

All the more incomprehensible to us is this dislike of reading, if we belong to a generation to which both the family and all those around us rather tried to prevent reading.

- Stop reading to you, you will break your eyes!

- Go better walk, the weather is what!

- Carcass the light! It's too late!

Yes, in those days the weather was always too good to read, and the nights too dark.

Please note that r

Here is an introduction to the book.
Only part of the text is open for free reading (copyright restriction). If you liked the book, the full text can be obtained on the site of our partner.

Description of the book "Like a novel"

Description and summary of "Like a novel" read free online.

In memory of my father and the unforgettable Frank Vleg.

We kindly request (I beg you!) Not to use these pages as an instrument of pedagogical torture.

The verb "read" does not tolerate the imperative. The incompatibility that he shares with some others: "to love" ... "to dream" ...

You can try, of course. Are we trying? “Love me!” “Dream!” “Read!” “Yes, read, parasite; whoever is told - read!”

- March to yourself and read!

He fell asleep over a book. The window suddenly seemed to him an exit into some tempting distance - there he flew away. Fleeing the book. But he sleeps sensitively: the open book still lies before him. If we sneak a peek at the door, we will see: he is sitting at the table and diligently reading. Even if sneaking up quite silently, he will hear us through the thin veil of slumber.

- Do you like?

He will not answer no, he will not commit sacrilege. The book is sacred, how can you not like to read? “The descriptions are too long,” is what he will say.

Reassured, we will return to the TV. Perhaps even his remark will cause a lively discussion between us and one of ours ...

“The descriptions seem to him too long.” Well, it can be understood, we live in the age of audio and video, and in the nineteenth century, writers had to describe everything in detail ...

- So what? All the same, this is not a reason to skip half the pages!

No need to strain, he fell asleep again.

All the more incomprehensible to us is this dislike of reading, if we belong to a generation to which both the family and all those around us rather tried to prevent reading.

- Stop reading to you, you will break your eyes!

- Go better walk, the weather is what!

- Carcass the light! It's too late!

Yes, in those days the weather was always too good to read, and the nights too dark.

Please note that the verb “read”, albeit with the particle “not,” was already used then in the imperative mood. In this sense, the past tense did not differ from the present. Reading was an act of protest. Not only was the novel a revelation, the excitement of disobedience was added to this. Double luxury! Oh, this memorable watch of stolen reading under the covers under the light of a flashlight! How rushed in these night hours to her Vronsky Anna Karenina! How they loved each other and how beautiful it was! But they also loved each other and contrary to the ban on reading, and it was even more beautiful! Loved contrary to father and mother, loved contrary to math problems, contrary to a lesson in literature for tomorrow, contrary to cleaning the room, loved each other instead of dinner, loved, without waiting for dessert, refused a football match and a mushroom trip for their love ... They chose a friend they preferred a friend over everything else ... Oh, my God, this is love, this is a novel! And how short it was.

Let's be fair: we did not immediately think of imposing a duty on him to read. At first, our only goal was his pleasure. When he was born, the first time we were in a state of grace. The fascination with new life made us brilliant. For his sake we gained the gift of storytellers. From his very awakening to the language, we told him all sorts of stories. We did not know such abilities before. We were inspired by his joy. His admiration spurred us. For him, we did not skimp on characters, strung adventures, set cunning traps ... Like old Tolkien to his grandchildren, we created him a whole universe. On the borderlands of day and night, we became writers for him.

If we didn’t have such a talent, if we were telling other people's tales to him, and they weren’t telling it so nicely - mumbled, hardly picked up words, forgot names, got confused in episodes, attached the end of another to one fairy tale - it doesn't matter. Even if we didn't say anything at all, just read it out loud - we were still his personal novelist, the only storyteller in the world. We helped him put on his dream pajamas before hiding in the covers of the night. We were his book.

Remember this proximity, with which, perhaps, little could be compared.

How we loved to put fear on him - only for the sake of pleasure then to console him! And how he demanded of us this fear! Even then, he saw through all the tricks, but he wanted to keep up with it properly. In general, I was a real reader. We made a wonderful couple with him in those days: he, the reader, is oh, so tempted! - and we, the book, - oh, how friendly!

In fact, he learned everything about the book from us when he himself could not read. We opened to him an endless world of fantasies, introduced to the joy of traveling at the speed of thought, endowed with omnipresence, freed from the inexorable Chronos-Time, dipped the reader into the densely populated loneliness ... The stories we told him were teeming with brothers, sisters, relatives, ideal doubles, squadrons of angels -guards, armies of friends who took upon himself his sorrows - and he defended them in their battles with cannibals with the alarming beating of his heart. He was also their guardian angel: the reader. Without him, their world did not exist. Without them he remained walled up in his thickness. So the paradox of reading was revealed to him: it takes us away from reality in order to fill reality with meaning.

From these wanderings he returned dumb. It was morning, everyone took up other things. In truth, we did not try to find out what he had brought out of his wanderings. And he innocently kept his secrets. Own, as they say, a special world. His personal relationship with Snow White or with one of the seven dwarfs was that private life, which is not customary to talk about. The great pleasure of the reader is such silence about what has been read!

In fact, he learned everything about the book from us.

We perfectly fomented his reading appetite.

To such an extent - remember, remember! - what to him I was eager to learn to read!

Oh, what kind of educators we were when we didn’t even think about pedagogy!

And now he is a teenager, sitting, closing the door, in the room behind a book that he does not read. Everything that beckons him away flows between him and the open pages, blurring the lines. There is a window in front of him, behind a closed door. Page 48. He does not dare to count how many hours he got to this forty-eighth page. And in their book there are absolutely four hundred forty-six. Count five hundred. 500 pages! If only there were dialogs. Yeah, right now! Solid black lines between narrow fields, paragraphs are piled one on top of the other, and sometimes, here and there, is an oasis of dialogue - a dash, which means that one character says something to another. But the other does not answer. Again a twelve-page monolith! Twelve pages of continuous printing! Do not rest! Well, there’s nothing to breathe, damn it! Pancake ficus!

He swears. Regrettably, he swears. Wickedly-fucking brick! Page forty-eight ... If he had even remembered the contents of the previous forty-seven! He does not dare even ask this question - which he will inevitably be asked. Winter twilight is replaced by darkness. From the bowels of the house he heard the call signs of news. Another half hour - and lunch. Surprisingly dense this thing is a book. Do not cut it. By the way, it seems, and it burns badly. Even fire cannot break through the pages. Oxygen is not enough. Here are the marginal notes he makes. And these are countless notes. A book is a dense, unbearable thing, tightly compressed, in general, a brick on its head. Page forty eight or one hundred forty eight - what's the difference? The picture does not change. He again sees the teacher's lips move, pronouncing the title of the book. He hears the unanimous question of the guys:

- Three hundred, maybe four hundred ... (Lies ...)

The announcement of the appointed time causes an explosion of protests:

- In two weeks? Four hundred (five hundred!) Pages in two weeks! We won’t have time, Monsieur. No, we don’t have time!

Monsieur does not enter into negotiations.

The book is a brick on his head, pressed eternity, materialized boredom. This is what a book is. "Book". This is the only way he writes in his writings: a book, this book, in a book, about a book.

“In his book Thoughts, Pascal says ...”

The teacher can object as much as red ink against such a definition, insisting that it is necessary to speak about a novel, or an essay, or a collection of short stories, or a poetic cycle, that the word “book” in itself, being a comprehensive concept, does not mean that the telephone the reference book is also a book, and a dictionary, and a guide, and an album for stamps, and a ledger ...

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