Reading Daniel Pennac‘s work of fiction, “Diary of a Body” is a fantastic adventure through the life of a man from age 12 (1935) until his death at 87 (2011). The book begins by introducing the diary through his daughter’s next door neighbor (here he uses the first person form, so we think Pennac…but no!) She has inherited her father’s diary which no one even knew he kept and asks him if she should publish them. The decision is made…yes! But keeping the author’s identity secret as he had been a famous public figure…
This book is completely captivating. We walk along with the character, whose name we never know, through his discovery of the workings of his body after his father’s death until his own fight with cancer at 87. It’s an introspective novel, sometimes very funny at other’s acutely melancholic.
You can feel the style of Pennac’s humor and descriptive genus as he guides you through the life of a man, who becomes the prototype of everyone who’s ever contemplated the workings of ones own body.
When the protagonist is 45 years old he writes about his son’s adolescent rebellion, which takes the form of a dead pan expression whenever he’s near his father. He notes that the lack of facial expression can in fact transmit anything and nothing at all, and wishes his son would just come out and say what his inner most sentiments really are. Here Pennac refers to a famous cinema short by producer Kulesov known as the Kuleshov Effect to make his point. Of course, I ran to see if I could find it on YouTube…and sure enough, there it was, and so here it is!
On the side panel there is a modern attempt to explain the phenomena using a cat, with explanation. And here is that one too, I just couldn’t resist:
Oh! I’ve just discovered that the book hasn’t been translated into English!!! Well if you really want to treat yourself and find out more about Daniel Pennac, you can read his fantastically funny book about ‘Monsieur Malaussène’ occupation: scapegoat!
Have a nice Sunday! Ciao!