Archives : Giardino

Un été fatal

Un été fatal

Like Hitchcock before him (remember Grace Kelly?), Giardino likes to imbue his heroines with a slightly glacial quality. The brief storylines of “Vacances fatales” (Editions Casterman) are evidence of this. In the space of a few short pages, Giardino creates a fascinating story. A woman hesitates between the two conflicting roles of predator or prey: to be the passive object of desire, or she who manipulates to her own design. The intrigue deepens, inexorably. At first glance, “Un été fatal” evokes serenity. A lush, shimmering Eden beckons from a screenprint. And yet, even in this deceptively calm scene, Giardino’s unsettling powers are at work. This dark beauty, where has she come from? What is she reading? Those sunglasses, are they hers? Confronted with this fine print, the appreciative observer finds himself a narrator of the intrigue. Proof, if it was needed: “They would not be disturbed. At worst, he knew he would have an hour. She would then go down to the beach below, and even then it wouldn’t be too late. It was the sixth day; the last day. He could feel sadness rising within him but he felt neither concern nor urgency. To quell his sadness he imagined himself in the place of the lizard transfixed in shade beneath the table, then in the place of the glass that she caressed absent-mindedly, all the while continuing with her reading. The discarded sunglasses made him think of those revealing moments he would glimpse occasionally, these women observed in their true nature, wearing their glasses and still beautiful, betraying a childlike gravity and then, at the first suspicion of a sound, instantly self-possessed, wary and watchful as an animal. Time no longer mattered to her; doubtless she knew that it was running out. She wasn’t expecting anyone. Unless of course that chair was intended for him, so that he would go to her, so that she would finally know. He could surely wait, hold off until the next day…It was no use. He would not show himself; something always seemed stop him. He would never be part of her life, save for that split second where she would see her own death. She seemed to be enjoying the murder mystery. A pity; she would never know who did it. The ambiguity of the thought was troubling. He knew he had to make up his mind, even if the disquiet stayed with him. He had already taken care of the file photos, but he could at least finish the book for her. He held his breath. Slowly, deliberately, his index finger tensed. This was earning him 25,000 dollars. He no longer allowed himself a knowing smile in recognition of the title he would remember without difficulty: “Vacances fatales”.

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