Olympe in The Book That Kills
In The Book That Kills Olympe is remorselessly pursued by William Lemaitre. Her impact on him I described in the first draft, but I decided it was too flowery and cut it out. Am I right?
I was eleven years old. We were in the mountains, at my mother and father’s chalet. It was April. I and my two friends decided to swim in the lake that was next to the golf course. The day was so hot, temperature nearly twenty-five. The lake was closed to the public for the winter, although the diving board was there, and the twine nets to keep the children from straying into deep water. I was the first out of my clothes, and into my black slip. I ran along the springy board, arched up toward that powerful sun— and hit the water like a diving arctic seabird.
The heat was an illusion as that icy cap closed over me. The water of the lake, fed from the hundred glacial streams of thawed snow, short-circuited my nervous system, tripped the white switch in my heart. My breath ceased, my heart died in the very act of beating, and when I surfaced into that dazzling light I needed a shove and a leap into gear to kick start me or I’d have been a dead, electrocuted fish floating on that black surface.
I recovered. I struck out for the bank. I sucked in air. I expanded. This was just like my first meeting with Olympe.
Biographer, novelist, playwright