Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 21st, 2009

note: you may read these new posts by selecting category “finance/politics Today”

443.  What day dreaming generates; (August 16, 2009)


444.  Documentary movies on civil wars; (August 17, 2009)


445.  Christmas Eve in a Christian family: Lebanon; (August 17, 2009)


446.  Day after the end of Epic War; (August 17, 2009)


447.  Two days after the end of Epic War; (August 18, 2009)


448.  Exorcizing a part of my life: Marakesh Restaurant in DC; (August 18, 2009)


449.  Are you a genius? (August 19, 2009)


450.  Fragile is being normal; (August 19, 2009)

Together is all that I want, “Ensemble, c’est tout”; (August 20, 2009)


            It is 12:15 p.m. and I just finished reading the adorable “Ensemble, c’est tout”.  In homage to the glorious moments I spent reading this novel I feel that I have to invest time summarizing and reviewing it. 

            It is about four main characters who ended up sharing a large apartment in Paris and caring for one another.  Philibert Marquet de la Durbelliere, a 36 old bachelor raised in an aristocratic family and selling post cards; Franck Lestafier, a 33 years bachelor raised by his grandmother and a chef in a restaurant, third in command; Camille Fauque, a skinny girl and a painter of 27 years; and Paulette, the grand mother of Franck who was practically kidnapped from her retirement home to live with them.

            Philibert accepted Franck to live with him in his temporary 300 square meters apartment, supposedly because the latter needed a bunk to take a siesta from his non-stop working condition.

Philibert is the eldest son among six other sisters and his mother did not want him when she was pregnant; she refused to be aborted in a hospital because of her class status of Marquise and her son was raised to keep his distance from the common people. He spent his childhood in a boarding school where he suffered all kinds of humiliations from his schoolmates.  His father asked him every Saturday whether he was able to retain his rank and honor his valiant ancestors.  Philibert stuttered and had many compulsive obsession troubles in front of the public; he was raised without TV, dailies, outings, or humor. He was now living temporarily in a large apartment pending inheritance judgment on its final status.

Franck was abandoned by his mother because his grandmother refused to help her abort.  He lived with his grandparents in a very small town and not knowing who could be his genetic father.  At a certain period, his mother returned for him and took him for less than a year before sending him back to his grand parents after screwing his mind with calumnies about his grand mother. Franck changed after his return and tried hard to punish and take vengeance on his grand mother and became a trouble maker. Finally, he graduated from a culinary institution and was working as cook six days a week ever since. Mondays were his free days which he spent visiting his grand mother living alone in her house, two hours drive by motorcycle from Paris. Franck was not cultured and never had time to read anything but motor magazines. His hobby was to buy the latest models of motorcycles; he cursed a lot because he lacked the vocabulary to express his feelings adequately.

Camille was the only child and her mother tried many times to commit suicide. Her father thus separated from her mother Catherine and visited his daughter on weekends. She loved her father and when he died falling from a building Camille stopped speaking for many months.  Her drawing teacher understood her predicament; one day the teacher told Camille the story of the famous Chinese artist Chu Te who vowed silence for the remainder of his life after the Manchurians took power over the Ming dynasty and thus took to the mountains to avoid speaking to people who resigned themselves to the new power.  At 18, Camille left home and enrolled in Fine Arts in Paris because she was gifted in drawing and painting.  She got bored two years later and quit.  She lived in a shack with a painter caring for his livelihood until he got addicted to drugs.

When Camille returned to live with her mother she kept to her room for two months out of depression.  One day, a scoundrel selling false paintings hired her to imitate famous paintings and lodged her in the best hotels around Europe and bought her the best and most expensive dresses as long as she was slaving over her works.  The business was busted and she lived three days and three nights penniless and homeless until she dropped at the door of a couple of her acquaintances.  The rich couple sheltered her in a small room under the attic of the building.  Her room was stuffy in summer and freezing in winter. She barely ate and looked too skinny for her stature of 173 cm.  For a whole year she worked with a cleaning company.  One day, she shaved her head because she could no longer suffer the humiliation of sneaking to the couple’s apartment to shampoo her long hair.

Paulette was living alone in her house and loved to garden.  She was suffering from her hips and was constantly falling and bruising herself but was afraid to check to a hospital for fear of being sent to a retirement home.  After a hip surgery and the requirements of staying in the hospital for several months for chiropractic training, Paulette ended up reluctantly in a retirement house.  Her grandson Franck used to spend his Mondays on her sides; mostly sleeping on the couch because he was always tired. Paulette was his only relative and the one who raised him with love.

On a cold night Philibert decided to check on Camille at two in the morning in her attic in the building and found her sick with fever. He carried her to his apartment and took care of her.  When Franck saw her three days later he sought she was a gay guy; he was upset because this new arrival is going to disturb his total freedom such as blasting his stereo and inviting his numerous girls overnight.  It is a story about how people learn to accommodate themselves, listen to the miseries of their respective hard life, the tenuous and precariousness of their survival, how to live together and support each other to go living as best they can.

Camille resumed her interest in drawing and painting; she started with the design details of what the apartment contained of ancient furniture at the period of the beginning of the century and then sketching Philibert. One day, Franck was insensitive to her fatigue and kept his stereo blasting with techno music and laughing out loud with his loud mouthed girl; Camille entered Franck’s room and threw the stereo from the window and then locked herself in her room. 

Franck took his revenge with very noisy love making exercises; Camille was unable to sleep all night from this impossible activity which she thought was total fake.  The next day, Camille bought Franck new stereo equipment. Franck saw the drawing booklet of Camille and appreciated her talent with growing respect.  Camille picked up a drug addict named Vincent and his dog Barres (found on Barres Street) and allowed him to live in her former attic room.  Vincent got treatment for his addiction because he read a book that Camille forgot to take from her room.  The book was a collection of letters that Van Gogh wrote to his brother and never dispatched them to him; these letters were found on Van Gogh when he committed suicide.  Vincent confirmed that he felt that Van Gogh was writing his own predicament, pains, suffering, and confusion and read the book so many times that he memorized it.

Franck’s relationship with Camille improved and she started accepting a few of his invitations and Franck shared with her his childhood problems. Camille also shared with Franck her childhood emotional problems and what she went through.  Then, Camille convinced Philibert to allow her to bring Paulette to the apartment to the total dismay of Franck who wept from joy. 

Camille took control of caring for Paulette, taking her to walking trips every where in Paris, locating an affordable hair saloon to shampooing Paulette’s hair every Saturday, and acquiring a wheelchair so that they may bypass the long lines in museums and other shows.  Every time Paulette succumbed to a lethargic state, the team would invent ways to resuscitate her excitement to life. One of the solutions was to start long weekend vacations, including visits to Paulette’s house and taking care of her garden under her supervision.  Before Paulette died peacefully in her garden she wrote Franck her wishes to bequeath the garden to Camille.

The novel is packed with lively conversations, funny surprise situations, description of the minute details of kitchen preparations for a major “end of year festival”, stories about the lives and diaries of famous painters and artists such as Van Gogh, Albrecht Durer, Chu Te and others and about French history and Henry IV which were mostly new to me.

Franck ended up marrying Camille and opening their restaurant.  Philibert got married and was working as maitre of reception at the restaurant. Camille located her sister from her father.

Films festival at Sofil Theater (Achrafieh, Lebanon)

From my diary of Sunday, (Written on October 8, 2006  and posted August 21, 2009

Yesterday, Victor and I cleaned one of the three chicken coops because it seemed that it might rain.

Today, Victor wanted to clean his new coop; he spent almost six months constructing, welding, and painting. I had helped reluctantly for six months because nobody wanted any more chicken, the cost, and the trouble that generates nothing but frustration.

Well, I helped him clean for an hour and then he got in his mind to cement the floor.  I helped Cedric bring sacs of sands and gravel from a nearby pit.  Then, I stopped in order to do some errands.  Victor was still cleaning in the evening.

I ventured to the movie theater of Sofil in Achrafieh to see a couple of films of the movie festival.

I watched “Kilometer Zero” at 5:00 p.m. about the Kurds forced to fight Iran in Basra in 1988 and the animosities between the Iraqi “Arabs” and Kurds.  The grandfather once told the hero: “We the Kurds had a lousy past, a tragic present but the best is that we have no future”.

I had bought a ticket for the 7:30 movie “Maria Full of Grace” but felt bored waiting and I returned the ticket.  I hoped that I might encounter a familiar face; I was certain that this longing will not happen; I never meet familiar faces, not in the festival, not in Lebanon, or anywhere else.

I went back strait home; although I was hungry and had decided to eat at B to B I didn’t feel like stopping on my way and prepared myself a quick diner at home.

I went again this Sunday and watched “A New Day in Old Sana’a (Yemen)” and returned straight home.

May be a short review of what is showing could be enlightening: “Volver” by the screen player Pedro Almodovar which was cancelled, “Trametti”, “I am the one who brings flowers to her grave”, “Beyrouth ma betmout” a mini-DV of 7 minutes by Katia Jarjoura, “Color me Kubrick”, “De battre, mon Coeur s’est arrêté”, “Factotum” a screen play adaptation of Charles Bukowski’s novel, “Malek wa Ketaba”, “Maroc”, “Offside”, “Paris, je t’aime”, “Jezile”, “Nuovomondo”, and “The Queen”.

Free tickets were distributed for “Amaret Yacoubian” before the festival was on and we had no clue; the tickets must have gone to the privilege individuals of the club.

Joanna had been working on a project for two consecutive week-ends and I barely saw her.

I wanted to see “El Violin” on Monday but didn’t feel like driving alone. The weather has been cloudy all the day. I figured that I’ll stop at the Storiom supermarket to buy mom a full fat Tatra powder milk and a ‘crose’ of cigarette ‘Cedars’ for my dad because it might be closed by the time I return.

Then I decided against seeing the movie and spent my night reading “Ensemble, c’est tout”. I might go today and see two movies, including “The Golden Door“, but nothing is sure anymore with my state of moods.

I executed my plan to see two movies last night; I saw “Nuovomondo” and “The Violin” and was back around midnight.




August 2009

Blog Stats

  • 1,522,254 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 770 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: