Ripov had a fascination for the written word - whether it be the Code of Ham O'Rabies or that of Chameleon Buonapasta, the great classics from Shake'em Pears to Trust-your-whisky (the Russians pronounce it Dusto ....), passing through the gamut of whatch-its and what-not-bits.
was so insatiable he would read government statistics with no less enthusiasm than the flyers and political pamphlets handed out in subway stations. Such variety of literature -much of it free - boggled Ripov's mind. To say however that Ripov was a walking encyclopedia wouldn't be fair. "Letter gobbler" is more appropriate, for our hero could read English from right to left and Arabic upwards.
The symptoms of Ripov's readomania manifested themselves at a very tender age so that aside from mastering his native tongue, Ripov learnt the different signs and alphabets humankind had invented since Sumer. Though he immediately identified Cyrillic vowels - which he by no means found to be the silliest -- he was utterly unable to comprehend a Bulgarian sentence. It didn't stop him from munching Turkish delights. But as time went by and the readomanic fits intensified, Ripov's malady developed into word congestion and he gradually unlearned the English syntax. In spite of the fact that he couldn't fill out his IRS forms any longer, Ripov didn't seem to lose his joie de vivre.
People mistook him for an eccentric. Yet something was taking place in Ripov's mind. The world around him became a landscape of living symbols. Let the reader grasp (gasp!) and appreciate Ripov's Codex sui generis from the following illustrations.
Here are other more primordial examples of Ripov's symbolism.
Albert Russo is a Belgian citizen living in Paris. His writing won the Prix Colette in Cannes in 1974. He speaks Swahili.
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