(Dominique Jeannerod & Daniel Magennis, 9 June 2015)
French author and documentary filmmaker, Karim Miské recently came to Belfast as part of the Belfast Book Festival, to read and answer questions about his debut novel Arab Jazz (winner of the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and the English PEN award). We managed to detain him long enough to put some questions of our own to him. Continue reading
Most frequent words in the first chapter of Arab Jazz (Viviane Hamy, 2012), click to enlarge
Arab Jazz, Karim Miské’s multi-award winning novel tells the story of an avid reader. Ahmed is a 21st century Don Quixote, who lives in Paris’s multicultural 19th arrondissement and reads modern chivalric romances, i.e. Crime Fiction. He buys books by the kilo, and stores 2.5 tonnes of them in his flat. His local bookshop is the pharmacy where he finds the remedies for his soul. Sure, these remedies contain a dose of poison too. But he needs them, as the horror and the sick imaginations of others allow him to keep the monsters inhabiting his own head at bay. Some of the books are memorable: Ellroy, Tosches, and Manchette. They rank in his consciousness alongside other considerable books, by Baudelaire, Van Gogh, Artaud, and Debord. He equally reads “vast quantities of Anglo-American industrial thrillers, by Connelly, Cornwell, and Cobain; their names are a bit mixed up in his head”. He often has the impression that he reading the same novel, over and over again; which is exactly what he is looking for. He wants to forget about the whole world and immerse himself entirely in a continuous narrative written by others. Until one day a girl’s blood drips down onto his clothes, and real crime re-enters his life.
Karim Miské will read from Arab Jazz at Belfast Book Festival, on Tuesday :
The iconic Série Noire, created in Paris in the summer of 1945, by surrealist Marcel Duhamel in order to publish American hardboiled authors, celebrates this year its 70th Birthday. This is an occasion to look at the influence it had abroad, and beyond America, where it helped defining the noir genre. Continue reading
It would be severe to assess the value of The Gunman, the blockbuster featuring Sean Penn, for its own merits as a work of art, in its chosen medium. Continue reading
Before he was killed by criminals, one month ago, Charb, the Charlie-Hebdo editor had contributed to a book on Crime Fiction. His illustrations for Polars, philosophie et critique sociale, by sociologist Philippe Corcuff (Textuel, 2013) are a testimony to his wit and talent. Continue reading