The Collector's Dream
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A holidaying writer becomes entranced by the story of two great New Zealand eccentrics. First there is Franklin Bodmin, self-taught genius and inventor of the crinkled hairpin and the first modern carburettor, who became an entrepreneur in America, living out the dreams of success of an entire generation. Growing up in Invercargill, in the shadow of this superhero father, Will Bodmin chooses a different path, travelling to England to become an unorthodox Jungian art therapist and one of the greatest ever collectors of documents and works of art relating to the South Pacific.
Drawn into archival byways and the intricacies of family lore, our author finds himself retracing Will’s search for the elusive 19th-century pamphlet that would make his collection complete. From one man’s obsessive accumulation of objects and knowledge emerges a meditation on both the human conviction that life, in spite of its irrational moments, can be deciphered, and on a young nation’s obsession with its past.
Praise for the French edition of The Collector’s Dream:
‘This is a beautiful tale. It could also be extremely dark if Pierre Furlan didn’t share with all first-rate storytellers a talent for studding his narrative with anecdotes, stories and unexpected vistas, all in the tradition of great literary journeys.’
—Daniel Martin, La Montagne
‘True stories, legends, tall tales – the novel weaves a narrative where every object, letter or book triggers a tale, picturesque or pitiful. But the novel is not merely a collection of stories: its structure, as well as revealing Furlan’s mastery of the story-teller’s art, is also a real reflection on what inspires and gives life to literature.’
—Alain Nicolas, L’Humanité
PIERRE FURLAN is the author of six books of fiction, and is also a leading literary translator, of Paul Auster, Russell Banks, Alan Duff and Elizabeth Knox, amongst many others. He was the French writer in residence at the Randell Cottage in Wellington in 2004-2005, and Bluebeard's Workshop and Other Stories was published by VUP in 2007. Born in southwestern France, he spent his adolescence in California and studied at UC Berkeley, before settling permanently in Paris.
JEAN ANDERSON is Senior Lecturer in French at the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University of Wellington, and Director of the Centre for Literary Translation.