DIMENSIONS: 128 x 42 x 20 cm
TECHNICAL: articulated wooden doll
One day on the island I found a perfume bottle buried in the sand.
I don’t know how long it had been there but surely quite some time, to judge from its appearance. I cleaned it and kept it in my cabin, on my desk, with my notebook and the few things I had. You could still smell something, if you really concentrated, and used a little imagination.
In my castaway world that subtle smell came to be a presence at once strange and familiar, and before long I started talking to it. Above all I would talk to it before writing; it was a source of inspiration and something else: I imagined it to be the soul of Faustine, the ghostly heroine, summoned from a distant past, of The Invention of Morel, a book I had been reading before setting sail. Like the Bioy Casares character, I fell head over heels in love with her. One afternoon when I left the door open — I had had to dash out of the cabin when it started to rain to cover the newly cut wood — a wild capybara got in and destroyed everything I had. On the floor I found the shattered remains of Faustine. Sad, despairing, my heart broken into pieces, I went out in the rain to bury them in the sand, in the very same place I had found them.
I returned its treasure to the beach, from which I should never have taken it, perhaps, and should never have discovered the smell of the past.