“The Pigeon” by Patrick Süskind (Penguin, 1988)
“The Pigeon” is a novella about Jonathan Noel, a security guard at a bank in Paris who experiences an existential crisis when a pigeon appears in front of his apartment door, stopping him from moving freely to the bathroom at the end of the hall. The story takes place across one day, and follows how this seemingly insignificant event threatens Noel’s life and sanity. The pigeon of the title represents disorder, a notion of complete horror to Noel, who lives a meticulously organised existence.
It is one of my very favourite stories. One I have read many times. There are passages in the novella that still bring tears to my eyes, even though I have read it more often, probably, than any other book (except maybe “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Lorax”).
The reason I have read it 5 times in the last two weeks is because I am currently teaching it to my amazing year 11 class as part of a ‘critical study of text’ unit. And they are loving it. Earlier this week one of the boys said, “You know, Miss, this book reminds me of a play I saw called “Waiting for Godot”. They both really make you think about whether or not life is pointless.”
So, I don’t know how you spend your days, but, currently, I’m spending mine discussing existentialism and considering the complexity of absurdism. I bet you wish you were me.