“Crazy for Vincent” by Herve Guibert— From Death to Life

Guibert, Herve. “Crazy for Vincent”, translated by Christine Pichini”, Semiotext(e) / Native Agents, 2017.

From Death to Life

Amos Lassen

Vincent was playing parachute with his bathrobe when he fell from the third floor after drinking a liter of tequila, smoking Congolese grass and snorting cocaine. His story here begins with his death and then moves backwards in time. Vincent was a skateboarding, drug-addled, delicate “monster” of a boy and in whom the narrator finds sublime beauty. Sometimes tender and sometimes violent, Vincent drops in and out of French writer and photographer Hervé Guibert’s life over the span of six years from 1982, when he first met Vincent as a fifteen-year-old teenager, to 1988. After Vincent’s senseless death, the narrator embarks on a writing mission to bring back the Vincent who had come into and elevated, and emotionally eviscerated his life. Guibert works chronologically backward from the death that opens the text. He writes in his journal, the author trying to understand what Vincent meant to him and his life and wonders if this had been passion, love an erotic obsession or simply an invention. We are not sure whether this writing is a diary, a memoir, a poem or fiction or if it is an autopsy, a crime scene, a hagiography or a hymn. One thing that it is, for sure, is a look at desire.

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