ONE LAST NIGHT
A man has found refuge in a ruined house on the Assy Plateau in the Alps, and this is to be his last night. He has come from Italy and is struggling to breathe; he’s painfully short of breath, suffocating. His cough goes back a long way, to his childhood when he had his first asthma attacks.
Over the course of one night and in a narrative that is as sensual as it is poetic, our narrator remembers… His teenage years and periods spent at thermal spas and rest homes on the shores of Italy’s northern lakes. He also remembers the house where he was born in Bracca, a Lombardy village exposed to the damp, his father who had emigrated from the south and who felled trees, and his mother bringing the midday meal into the forest.
There is also a beloved uncle who leaves the woods of Bracca for the docks and the bustle of Trieste, a town fit for every fantasy. The uncle then emigrated to America, allowing those left behind to dream of a better place as consolation.
One Last Night is a book of roads and pathways, of places and landscapes, and of a possible escape. But it is first and foremost a book about the body. A body fraught with asthma attacks, blackouts and fevers, its lungs bursting, its heart rate racing, the intoxication and terror of it. A body bathed in the soft light of the sea, the ever-warm caress of the Adriatic which acts as a balm, alleviates pain, and allows the lungs to relax. Another body too, Simona’s, the first woman he loved, and the revelations offered by women’s bodies in Trieste, amid the violence and beauty of desire.
Sébastien Berlendis lives in Lyon where he teaches philosophy. One Last Night is his first book.
« Adolescent, j’attends les heures d’été. Que mon corps s’ouvre, se dilate, respire et se brûle. »
C’est la dernière nuit d’un homme, arrivé d’Italie après un long chemin. Ses poumons suffoquent. Il se souvient.
De l’enfance et des premières crises d’asthme, du lac de Côme, de la mer de Trieste, du premier corps aimé…
L’écriture de Sébastien Berlendis, mélancolique, sensuelle et envoûtante, agit comme un rêve éveillé dont on voudrait ne plus sortir.