‘L’enfer c’est la répétition,’ is the motto of Ionesco at the beginning of the small, symbolic novel Mayfly (1988).
Repetition is the Hell, it leads to boredom and indifference which destroy the purity of the individual moment. This is also the case in the imaginary world in which Benny Wult and Gini Trades are born, meet one another, and are doomed to die. It is a world in which life lasts only a single day and each event occurs only once, but is therefore grandiose and unique. ‘Our lives and the love they contain take their great intensity from this uniqueness.’
In fact, the pursuit of the uniqueness of each moment is an allegory of the ‘life at full stretch’ which Albert Egberts, the hero of The Toothless Time, attempts to lead. Benny and Gini make love in almost divine fashion and are tempted to surrender to the opposite of their belief: to succumb to the Hell, to repetition, because they feel the ‘divine flame’ burning within them and cannot accept that it will immediately expire. Mayfly is a cruel and tender love story.