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Berger presents a collection of moments, each supremely vivid, that together make up a frieze of human history at the end of the millennium as well as a subtle and affecting self-portrait of their author. Using careful, intensely visual prose snapping frozen vignettes of life, these twenty-nine "photocopies" teach us about lying and self-invention, dignity and tenderness, charity and courage. Overflowing with the sights, sounds, and smells of life, Photocopies is a masterpiece from one of the most important chroniclers of our time.
arrived at the Carrer Ferran and I turn left towards Las Ramblas. The first small green leaves have unfolded on the platan trees which line the great open walk leading from the Plaza Catalunya to the pillar of Columbus which looks out to sea. Far away, in the middle of the esplanade, I spot something unusual. A man standing on a stepladder? In any case something or somebody a head or two taller than all those walking fast or strolling away from the sea or towards it. When I get nearer I
discreetly over his eyes like a peaked cap. He was small and stocky, like his own work horse, a mare called Biche. Biche was immortal, because when one mare was too old to work, he bought a young one, and, in turn, called her Biche. Once he held up a bridle in front of my face. Do you know what that means? he asked quietly. Yes, I said, the mare’s been taken away. Fifteen years working together is a long time, he said. He still held out the bridle in front of him. It was the only time I
risked to be so. When Angeline was young, idleness in the village was the summit of luxury. Her dog was called Mickey after the Mouse. Small, black, noisy and silly. A dog who never grew up. She swore at him. She locked him out. When he was sick he hid under the stove which she polished twice a week. But when he was bitten by another dog she nursed him on her lap as Calypso nursed Odysseus. And Angeline waited until this morning to play the trick on me. Certain villages appear to have come
open it, you lean against the railing of the balcony on which no more than four pigeons could land, and you fly in imagination over the roofs and history. It’s the exact height for flights of the imagination: the height of birds flying to the far edge of the city, to the walls, where the present ends and another epoch begins. In no other city in the world are such flights so elegant. She loved the view from the window, and she was deeply suspicious of its privilege. ‘There is a natural alliance
and sit beside me? She moves so that the seat beside her is free. I sit beside her and she tells me her name is Kathleen and I ask her what play she’s in. A Christmas Carol. My first role, when I was very small, was the infant Jesus. Two years back it was the Lady Macbeth I played. Very different, I say, very different. So you want to be an actress? It was probably then that she calculated that I was a little stupid. I’m going to be a hairdresser. In Omagh? No, I’m at school in Omagh. I’ve