Shan Sa, born in Peking in 1972, speaks two languages and writes with two pens. Author in France and poet in China, she has enjoyed popularity since the publication of La Joueuse de Go (The Go Player), Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, a superb text about a sixteen-year old girl who manages to ignore the war and the harshness of her life thanks to her game of Go, and to a capacity for crazy love, entirely stripped of all sentimentality. Shan Sa’s latest novel, Alexandre et Alestria came out in September 2006 and was shortlisted for the Académie Française grand prix.
In her drawer, my mother kept a watch dating from the 1920s, which had belonged to my grandfather. It used to fascinate me, and when I was very small, I used to seize the chance, whenever she went out, to gaze at length at it in secret. As my grandfather had been a member of the resistance, it was for me, the watch of a warrior. And at the same time, he was also very cultured, a kind of « scholarly combatant ». The watch represented this double personality. It was wide, round, with Roman numerals on the dial, and the brown leather strap made me think of wild riders, little girl that I was.
For me, a watch is a piece of jewellery. I have a Reverso with a blue, diamond-set bracelet. I hardly ever wear it, as I don’t like feeling as though I’ve been handcuffed, and because I feel weighed down with a watch on my wrist. I also like to wash my hands very frequently, as I find it relaxing. For me, a watch is the ultimate men’s accessory. I can’t think of anything more sexy than a watch on a man’s wrist.
The watch will last, as long as it is perceived as an item of jewellery. It won’t be killed off by technology. Just one thing though: it has to be the right watch.