The corpse gaped up at its killer, who squatted over it with a panel of pine steadied on the ruffled velvet covering his thigh, intently sketching the dead man's startled, stupid expression with a nub of charcoal tied to a thin stick. It had taken no small effort to locate this particular body, the first man the artist could be sure he personally had killed in the battle. The youth had not died in a manner any would call brave or noble, instead fumbling with his intestines like a clumsy juggler as they fell out of his split belly, and he looked even worse with the grime and blood and filth and the reek of shit and sunbaked offal, but soon he would become a saint. Which saint exactly, the artist had yet to determine, but a saint to be sure; it was the least he could do.
But there is no anaesthesia this time either. The pain the poor book undergoes is no less than would have been inflicted by a crude tearing, but at least the wound is enacted rapidly, and the amputated pages do not end up in the bin. With great luck they may even - if it is any kind of consolation - go through a separate binding process, just that sheaf of them, and get their own new covers: rather like providing an amputated hand with some artificial blood circulation so that it can continue to live separately from the body.
La primera vez que Jean-Claude Pelletier leyó a Benno von Archimboldi fue en la Navidad de 1980, en París, en donde cursaba estudios universitarios de literatura alemana, a la edad de diecinueve años. El libro en cuestión era D'Arsonval. El joven Pelletier ignoraba entonces que esa novela era parte de una trilogía (compuesta por El jardín, de tema inglés, La máscara de cuero, de tema polaco, así como D'Arsonval era, evidentemente, de tema francés), pero esa ignorancia o ese vacío o esa dejadez bibliográfica, que sólo podía ser achacada a su extrema juventud, no restó un ápice del deslumbramiento y de la admiración que le produjo la novela.
A tingle. Fine, colorless hairs bristle on her arms, thighs and back. A scratching at the pane:(movement) more a soft clawing in the distance with the window as sounding board, rattle of an all-but-dead time she throws back with the sheet, lifting her spine and buttocks out of their damp imprints in the mattress.Squeak of box springs. Her hand trembles, gropes under the lampshade. The switch. Light up what remains. What she has already begun to think of as this skeletal residue ground into the window.