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by Stéphanie Chasseloup

Nature and us.
Thought and us.
Death and us.
Silence and us.

Philip Roth answered these questions remarking that men say time passes, and time says men pass. This is how he describes, in The Dying Animal, the story of senior professor David, who has an inclination for the easy conquest of his female students and, for a twist of fate, ends up in love with his last prey, Consuelo. So beautiful it hurts, clever and sagacious, she will leave him breaking his heart and after several years she will come back to him, like a dying animal. She is ill, her body is decomposing, a cancer is devouring the part he loved the most, her abundant breasts. She asks him to photograph the body he has loved, because nature, which has given it to her, is suddenly taking it back. Photographs that Consuelo doesn’t want to see again. She won’t see them again, but she will leave them to him because she knows that he is still devoted to her body and he keeps on loving it more than any man she has ever met in her life. In the book’s ending, Roth gives us his most beautiful words, which are uttered by David, “The passage of time. We’re in the swim, sinking in time, until finally we drown and go. This nonevent made into a great event... The Big Ending, though no one knows what, if anything, is ending and certainly no one knows what is beginning. It’s a wild celebration of no one knows what.”