In Parentheses presents Colonel Zoo, by Olivier Cadiot. Banished to his basement, a zealous servant attempts to improve his service. But things very rapidly take a turn for the worse, as professional conscientiousness degenerates into all-consuming obsession. Like Robinson Crusoe on his island, the servant resorts to devising ever more complex and futile methods to gain infinite control over all aspects of his job. His ambition of becoming a "Master of Household Chores" is within his grasp -- if only he can hone his technique down to the tiniest detail. The ultimate 'how-to' course in domestic servitude.
To serve people well, it is necessary to know their tastes, be attentive to what they say. The servant will end up recording conversations and transcribing those recordings, converting his cellar into a listening-post, and becoming a spy. The result is a hodgepodge of snippets woven into a monologue: table chit-chat, commentaries, fragments of speech and bits of dialogue.