Sometimes the most amazing things happen.
Before leaving for home after a long weekend in a small village in Provence, I stopped by to speak with a local artist and visit the exhibition she had opened just downstairs.
While we were talking, an older gentleman joined us. I assumed he was a local acquaintance, and I felt somewhat embarrassed to be introduced as the neighbor recovering from reconstructive foot surgery, but I realized that the artist probably didn’t know my name. The gentleman just smiled. He seemed refined and gracious, from another epoch. I don’t recall his having said a word, except perhaps to wish us a good evening.
I went inside to admire the canvasses, leaving them to talk. In retrospect, it seems appropriate that I discovered a fascinating collection of abstract oil paintings, whose colors and textures made me think of landscapes from other worlds, like dreams glimpsed through a foggy porthole.
While I was inside, the artist came in and we talked a little about her work and inspiration, and then in more general terms about expression in images and words. It was then that I learned the name of the man who I had met a little while earlier. He is one of the most important French science fiction writers of the 20th century, Michel Jeury, and I’d been blissfully unaware of the incredible chance that had presented itself to me while I was completely unprepared.
Since I’ve only been reading in French for about the past decade, perhaps I’ll be forgiven for admitting that while I know Jeury’s name, I haven’t yet read any of his novels. That’s something I now intend to fix as soon as possible. It’ll be easy too; sixty-two of Jeury’s books are available as eBooks in the Swiss iBookstore, including the one I intend to start with Le temps incertain (Chronolysis), which does not appear to be available in French for Kindle, by the way.
It would indeed be an amazing coïncidence if I had the chance to meet Michel Jeury again, but if not, perhaps Chronolysis will prove to be a source of consolation.
Update August 10, 2013: Today I noticed that Amazon.fr is now listing a Kindle version of Le temps incertain at €9.99. No listing for it came up when I searched the site last weekend. Coïncidence?