"pas ça Zinedine, pas ça Zinedine, pas ça Zinedine!… oh, c'est à pleurer. On était dans un conte de fées jusque-là."
Well– nothing nearly as dramatic in the World Cup final the other night. We were rooting for Spain, more out of anti-colonial sentiment than real affinity for Spain. But the game was a bit of a snooze– I was taking a little nap when the one goal was scored (they woke me up for the replay). But it made me nostalgic for 2006, when I was so into the World Cup I was moved to Shakespearean levels of parody…
And I was not the only writer inspired by Zidane that night! Jean-Pierre Toussaint published La Mélancolie de Zidane, a translated excerpt of which you can find in Dalkey Archive's Best European Fiction 2010 (which I reviewed here). Toussaint imagines the agony and the ecstasy of being Zinédine Zidane in the last game of your career:
He no longer has the means, or the strength, the energy, the will, to pull off a last stunt, a final act of pure form; the header deflected by Buffon a few moments earlier, for all its beauty, will definitively open Zidane’s eyes to his irreparable impotence. Form, at present, resists him – and this is unacceptable for an artist.
In other news, Best European Fiction 2011 will be published in November! Hemon is still editing, this time with a preface by Colum McCann. (Let's hope McCann has a better handle on the topic than Zadie Smith did in the first volume.)