Nicolas (the protagonist of 'The Fountains of Neptune') says: "My sleep began in the spring of 1914. I slept through both World Wars and the tainted calm between. It was as if I had been cursed by an evil fairy, pricked by an enchanted spinning wheel; an impenetrable briar had gripped my mind."
Rikki Ducornet was recommended to me at ‘Subterranean Books’ (still a bookstore where there’s actual people talking about literature and reading books!). So thanks to them I was acquainted with this fabulous (that’s meant literally) writer. In “The Fountains of Neptune” we are introduced to Nicolas who, after witnessing his mother's murder, falls into a long coma, skipping both world wars. He wakes up by the sea, in France, so evidently his situation reflects the problematic concepts of memory, reconstruction of the past, the importance of myths and remembering.
My favorite scene is almost at the end of the novel. This is an eerie story where a woman is found dead with his monkey-husband, both dressed in formal attire, the monkey dressed very elegantly, with a tuxedo, and a wedding ring on the precise finger!
Ducornet can be considered a post-modern writer (especially through the fragmentation of her storytelling—great debt to Angela Carter, a friend of hers) where fiction is seen as an infinite process of the mind. She seems fascinated with the idea of mind as a process of fiction; fiction understood as a species of magic: words engendering worlds.
An excerpt of an interview:
Q: That reminds me of The Aleph?
A: Borges' Aleph is, among other things, a wonderful metaphor for the mind of the writer. Like Borges, I am interested in Kabalistic texts, that metaphysical delirium which is an attempt to find the word, or, rather the letter potent enough to precipitate a cosmos. My characters are often seen thrashing about in metaphysical deliriums!
Q: I was also wondering how the Surrealist movement has informed your writing?
A: The great surrealists: Breton, Eluard, Ernst, Toyen, Mansour, Tanguy--have all been a profound inspiration. They led me to Freud and to alchemy, to the aborigine paintings of dream time and to aesthetic experiments of all kinds including collage.