This is a great novel . . . Your heart will be broken. You will be confused and confounded. You will laugh aloud. And at least for a time, however hard you try, your own world will refuse to be what you think it is. (James Sallis, author of Drive, in the Los Angeles Times Book Review)
Boris Vian was a novelist, poet, jazz trumpeter, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor, and engineer. He was the emblematic figure of the postwar Paris cultural milieu: friend to Camus, de Beauvoir, and Sartre (until Sartre seduced his wife); the Parisian champion of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis; the inspiration for and mentor to Serge Gainsbourg; the French translator of Raymond Chandler. Vian, who had suffered a pulmonary edema in 1956, died of cardiac arrest in 1959, at age thirty-nine, during a screening of a Hollywood adaptation of one of his novels, outraged at the American interpretation of his novel, set in America, where he had never been. His last words were reportedly: "These guys are supposed to be American? My ass!" Stanley Chapman was a British architect, designer, writer, and translator, most notably of Vian and Raymond Queneau. He was the founder of Outrapo and a member of Oulipo, the Collège de 'Pataphysique (of which Vian was also a member), and the Lewis Carroll Society. He died in 2009.
This book is very, very difficult to get into. Although the language and imagery is beautiful it drags on relentlessly. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Bridget Benton