The Three Worlds of Leonid

The Three Worlds of Leonid

The Three Worlds of Leonid

The Three Worlds of Leonid

Excerpt

Leonid read constantly. Pushkin and Proust were his addictions. He loved too the crime stories of Georges Simenon. We shared these regularly, easily 200 of them.

He also wrote regularly, almost every day. Certainly in emergencies, those times in Russia when he was either moving fast to avoid capture or lying doggo somewhere in the Caucasus for the same reason, he kept a diary and wrote in it almost every day. Sometimes it was on scraps of paper that he later managed to preserve during the long trek across defeated France, from extreme northeast to southwest, trying to rejoin his disorganized regiment and to keep ahead of the advancing German armies. Also under the German occupation during his year or more of forced labor in the region near La Rochelle, breaking stones in road work and building the Atlantic Wall. Indeed these passages, liberally quoted in his autobiography, are by far the most vigorous.

After leaving Russia he wrote in French. He even translated into French poems of Pushkin. I have never seen the whole literary output, but I did read some years back a quite wonderful book about the French fishing ports, illustrated with photographs taken by himself of fishermen at work and of the flower-like presentations of fish set out for sale in certain ports. There may also be a book about fishing procedures on different parts of the French coast. I remember something of the sort from the times before 1940, when he would travel from one to another of France's three sea fronts, always painting those . . .

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