Learning French, And Other Escapes

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“Here I am wanting some other language to rescue me, wanting some escape route, when the very desire to transform, to mean something in the world, to take to the air, is such a chubby little caterpillar urge. If I were only a bit older and sadder, a bit more eager to trot out pleasant prose, would I soon be puttering around Provence, writing some whimsical foodie memoir and chuckling about the locals?

“I keep remembering Oblonsky in Anna Karenina, one of my favorites, whose passionate embrace of his Russianness makes him come off as very glamorous and European, while his wife Dolly’s grasping francophilia makes her inescapably, provincially Russian. I start to think about escape routes from my escape route. Heroin, maybe?”

A new Elizabeth Bachner essay at Bookslut, and another reason to want to learn French, read Geoff Dyer, walk around New York and pontificate madly under a wild night sky.


Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →