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This short novel, On Elegance While Sleeping, was written, in the form of a diary in the 1920s, by Argentinian novelist "Viscount" Lascano Tegui, who counted among his friends Pablo Picasso and a fellow early surrealist writer, Apollinaire. Many passages of the novel have taken my breath away because of their beauty, originality, and jarring juxtapositions. This little known and brilliant piece of literature is sometimes dark, often haunting, and more than occasionally shocking and funny. Full of mesmerizing, decadent, voluptuous and delicate images, some passages (especially as the book progresses) are not for the faint of heart. When I found some parts a little too disturbing, I hung out with this sweet pup for a cozy break! “When you’re a child, or a tourist … you might on occasion enjoy those tiny novelty kaleidoscopes or telescopes inside of which skillful manufacturers have placed images of the Cologne Cathedral, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Roman Coliseum. We had no need of these in our class, because inside of Gaston’s eyes—if we asked—we could see all the dogs, flower baskets, and carriage wheels of his infancy. It was remarkable. But—oh, the logic of nature!—whenever the girls going home from school would pass by, Gaston’s eyes, against his will, would fill with images of nothing but those roses, jasmines, and violets for which his tears, in times past, had served as such a persuasive salesman.” Viscount Lascano Tegui, On Elegance While Sleeping.

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