Eternal story of the North of Europe against the South (language included) such as occurs in the Cathar country (Ariège).
“It is a patch of green where a river sings ...”, the story of the Parcellaire could begin like that. The river is called the Rise. Where it is level with the mill of Cussou, it discreetly separates our meadows in the Languedoc from the ones that are ours in the Gascogne, just below the Castet de Toch and the point where the hill begins to descend, level with the linden-tree and the giant chestnut-trees, which survived the lightning of Jupiter and the centurions who stole the cattle of miserable creatures bent under the sun and feeding on roots. The Rise, here, forgets the saracene rhâ rolling at the back of the throats, in order to better blend with the steady flow of the romano-francilian language, stagnating as it is at the Courts of the North where the bourrée has long given way to the pavane ...
I therefore buy back from Quintius, Cesar’s receiver, those parcels of land which were snatched by foreign mercenaries from the Comtessa of the Troubadours, Countess who on no account could be the mum of Baron Jesus, whether the Jugglers of rue des Ecoles like it or not; those lands against which the Anonymous author of the Vie de Sainte Catherine will take care not to decree further : “E tout li kien de la contree pisseront sus ganbe levee.” (And all the dogs of the land will cock their leg and piss on it.)
Le Parcellaire, a charming book written with a mocking smile, simple and mysterious at the same time. The long sentences are not, of course, exactly ‘simple’, nor can the cutting sharpness, the exact hitting of the sensitive spot be ignored and there are passages which are a closed book awaiting exploration. The span is large : from Rome and Greece to the present day, all of this in the setting if not the material of a Pyrenean countryside.
There is somehow an underlying melancholy mood, something that makes one want to cry without knowing what it is, but then fortunately it all ends with a big feast and hasn’t the world in all corners been like that at all times?
Translation : Dagmar Coward Kuschke (Tübingen)