Author: djeannerod

About djeannerod

Lecturer in French Studies at Queen's University, Belfast. High velocity fiction enthusiast.

Noireland, Belfast

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Foreign Bodies

Demure

With thanks to Donald Nicholson-Smith

Foreign Bodies” is the  title of a promising, pioneering series of international crime fiction that never was. It was planned as a series of French Crime Fiction translated into English and published in America. The project  had been drafted almost two decades ago by the former  member of the Situationist International, Donald Nicholson-Smith, the translator of  Debord’s Society of Spectacle, Vaneigem’s  The Revolution of Everyday life, Lefebvre’s   The Production of space  and other key texts. Nicholson-Smith is also the translator of the  quintessential French Noir author, Jean-Patrick Manchette, whose situationist trajectory mirrored his. It is not only regrettable but also damaging for the understanding of  the international Noir genre in the English speaking world that this series never   saw the light of day. The contemporary surge of French Noir in English translation due to publishers such as Pushkin Vertigo, Gallic Books, or NYRB  might be seen as an opportunity to revisit Nicholson-Smith’s project. Continue reading

Crush

Frédéric Dard – Crush (translated by Daniel Seton), Pushkin Vertigo, 6 October 2016

(Original title :  Les Scélérats, 1959)

A book review by Eugen Kontschenko 

How low  would you be willing to fall to live  the American dream ?

Frédéric Dard’s novel Crush takes us to Léopoldville, a bleak and turbid industrial town in 1950s France. The residents of Léopoldville are mostly factory workers living simple lives. This is also the case for the novel’s protagonist Louise Lacroix, a 17-year-old girl who lives with her mother and drunken stepfather and, unsatisfied with her work at the factory, aspires to a fancier lifestyle. As she walks home after her shift, she passes by the house of the Roolands, an American couple considered wealthy in contrast with the others, due to the husband’s employment with NATO. Impressed by their house, their garden and especially their car, Louise is fervently drawn to them, envisioning an escape from her dreary life. Her wish seems to come true when the couple employs her as their live-in maid. But before long the American idyll begins to crumble. Continue reading