Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Photography from Peter Ferenczi,
and ongoing fiction from Mark Fitzpatrick!
Hello, folks! This week we have a new contributor to the blog in photographer/writer Peter Ferenczi. Peter is the artist behind the Partial Sight blog, and the book of the same name, in which he pairs his street photography with thought-provoking, humorous and sometimes mind-bending captions. He was nice enough to send us one of his recent snaps of life on the Seine (below) and we hope it's just a small taste of much more to come from Peter on the blog. If you can't wait for more, you can find more info about Peter at the bottom of the page. But on your way down the page, please also enjoy the most recent installments in our serialization of the quai-side scenes from Mark Fitzpatrick's novel, Very Few to Love. And more about Mark's writing can also be found below. Until next time, we wish you warmth and holiday cheer from the banks of the Seine!
The late afternoon sun burned gold through low clouds, shining on the wet stone of the quai, everything filled with the quiet and clean absence of the rain. The drips rustling in the leaves above, the footsteps of the few people wandering down alongside the river now, the saxophone’s husky note from far off under the bridges: all were made distinct and strange in the calm after the storm. Jill arrived, with bread and cheese, and a thick floury sausage, and we ate chunks of them cut with the blackened blade of Viktor’s old wooden Opinel clasp knife. We didn’t speak much, just ate. A tall, bearded Frenchman, who I had seen painting portraits alongside the Russians, joined us, and handed round plastic cups of hot, weak coffee from a flask in exchange for some of Jill’s food. She just passed him the bread and the knife with a smile, as if it was all the most natural thing in the world. It felt almost like it was. It was quite normal for me to sit here and break this bread, passed from hand to ink-stained hand, with the artists and madmen, down on the quai. I was one of them now.
I took my case and made my way by the narrow streets down towards the river. Stopping at a café blooming smells of coffee into the street, hissing hot-water sounds, clinking and rattling of cups and saucers, I bought a double espresso à emporter and a baguette with ham and butter, and took this breakfast down onto the Quai de Montebello.
I sat on one of the benches and watched the day begin. Stuffed bins were littered around with papers and bottles from the night before, joggers huffed past me, a small speedboat full of pompiers sped up the river, spreading a wide white wake, leaving the water rocking. I sat and ate and drank with my suitcase beside me, feeling like I’d just arrived off a night train, or from a different time zone through echoing departure lounges and starry skies above the clouds that faded as we sped into the dawn. What did I know of these things? The boy with the battered suitcase, sitting smoking in the sun: he seemed like they were what he was used to. He seemed to have come a long and mysterious way to get to this bench by the river across from Notre Dame. He was anyone, from anywhere. And today he would sell paintings for a surly Romanian artist, and tomorrow he might disappear, on other strange journeys. I felt like a character from the stories Lucy and I would tell ourselves, as we fancied our future adventures. For this moment, until someone broke the quiet around me and forced me to speak, to betray myself and reveal that I was only me, I was anyone, from anywhere.
We walked along the Left Bank to Pont Neuf, along the quais, past lounging groups of young people strumming guitars, drinking cheap wine, or kissing and fondling each other. Under bridges where it stank of urine and alcohol, we passed people with weathered faces and sturdy boots, their hair and clothes matted and ragged, strangely ornamented, drinking from tall cans and paper bags. I thought I saw Ludwig, but we passed quickly, and he made no sign, if it was him, that he recognised us. Beside Pont Neuf, on the deck of a boat pulled up to the bank, handsome young pompiers lounged around a table drinking wine. After crossing the bridge, under which passed Bateaux Mouches full of cheering tourists and camera flashes, we turned on to rue de Rivoli at the grand Samaritaine department stores. High up on one of the buildings was an enormous billboard of a sultry woman in sheer underwear. Viktor blew her a kiss, and his mood seemed to brighten.
“For this thing, at least, I love France. You never go far without seeing pictures of beautiful women without their clothes. It is good for the heart. Come, we’re nearly there. L’Hôtel de la Perdition. The Last Resort.”
Mark Fitzpatrick is an Irish novelist living and working in Paris, France.
For more of Very Few to Love, or just to send your regards, you can connect with Mark directly at:
You can also follow his new fantasy adventure novel as it unfolds on his blog at:
Peter Ferenczi is an American photographer and writer based in Paris, France.
Follow Peter's photo blog, Partial Sight, at
And keep up with Peter's writing by liking his facebook page at
Photos of Mark Fitzpatrick and Peter Ferenczi by Leslie McAllister: