Ivanov's "The Adventures of a Fakir"
ONE of the nicer things that happened to me when we moved was meeting Mr. Michael Pim, the extremely competent but reticent reference librarian at the Fairfax library on Gardner Street here in Los Angeles.
“Pim, Pim,” I said to him one day, to acknowl- edge his unvarying cheerfulness and quiet good manners. “‘You must never, never forget poor Pim.’ ”
“Pain,” he said.
“No, Pim. The Adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym. Poe,” I said.
“The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,” he again gently corrected me. “My name isn’t Pim. It’s Payne. Call me Mike.”
He then went on to mention-no doubt to get me over my moment of embarrassment-that the line I had quoted from Poe formed part of the epigraph to a book by the Soviet author Vsevolod Ivanov, The Adventures of a Fakir. I had never heard of Ivanov or his book. The English translation, Payne said, came out in 1935, the book was long ago out of print, and a copy could not be obtained even at the main Los Angeles library at Fifth and Flower.
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