the Mystery Guest: An Account by Grégoire Bouillier Translated by Lorin Stein Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006, 120 pp., $18 reviews In his second book, a short memoir the length of a novella, French writer Grégoire Bouillier writes about the lavishly absurd processes we devise to make meaning of our world, our relationships and ourselves. In The Mystery Guest, Bouillier tells a self-deprecating story about surviving a failed love affair. In doing so he illustrates the necessary process of finding, as he puts it, "the loopholes that reality offers us from itself." Bouillier's story begins in the fall of 1990, when a phone call wakes him from a Sunday afternoon nap. On the other end of the line is the woman who left him, without a word, four years before. Forgetting that he'd vowed never to speak to her again, Bouillier eagerly answers her, waiting for an overdue explanation. But she only wants to invite him to be "the mystery guest" at a birthday party for her husband's best friend, the contemporary artist Sophie Calle. Somehow Bouillier accepts the invitation. "I wanted answers," he decides. "The rest of my life depended on that party, I knew that for
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Mar 6, 2006
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