Frédéric Dard – The King of Fools (translated by Louise Rogers Lalaurie), Pushkin Vertigo, 15.05.2017. Original title La pelouse, 1962
A review by Eugen Kontschenko
“What was better? To be a murderer or a gullible fool?” (Page 145)
The King of Fools by Frédéric Dard begins in the sunny Côte d’Azur, where the story’s protagonist Jean-Marie Valaise spends his vacation after another break-up from his ex-girlfriend Denise. Due to an apparent small mishap, he meets Marjorie, a married Englishwoman, to whom he feels immediately drawn. Despite only having met her briefly, he senses she is unhappy with her husband and foolishly decides to follow her to Edinburgh. But when Jean-Marie arrives in Edinburgh, he realizes that Marjorie has secrets which are as twisted as the dark streets of the city, and equally as liable to ensnare. Continue reading
An encouraging article by Dalya Alberge in The Observer marks the first publication in English of one of the “Novels of the night” (romans de la nuit) by Frédéric Dard. The much anticipated Bird in a Cage, (Le Monte Charge), translated by David Bellos, is out this month, published by Pushkin Vertigo. Continue reading
Organizer: Stewart King, Monash University
Co-Organizer: Louise Nilsson, University of Uppsala
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(Images courtesy of François Kersulec)
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In 1955-6 Frédéric Dard, the author of the famous, best selling San-Antonio adventures, also published in the same series (Spécial Police, Fleuve Noir) four novels of pure violence, which he signed “Kaput”. This is also the name of the protagonist. Frantically brutal and death-driven, the stories race through their plots straight to the inescapable culmination in the last novel, titled Mise à mort (1956). When republished in France in the 1990s, they were presented as ” the dark side of an immense writer”. Prior to that, two had been translated into Spanish and published in Argentina in 1964. There, they were advertised as “Mas violento que Rififi!”, presumably capitalizing on the international success of Jules Dassin’s film, rather than on Auguste Le Breton’s original novel (Du Rififi chez les hommes).
San-Antonio, Passez-moi la Joconde, In Detektiv Francii, 7, Moscow, Renaissance, 1993
With thanks to Didier Poiret
Passez-moi la Joconde, one of the earliest novels by San-Antonio (1954) formed part of an anthology of French Detective fiction published in Russia. The anthology contains five novels. San-Antonio’s is the last one. There is no sense of chronology, nor apparent attention paid to genre distinctions or any other criteria of classification. It would be an interesting question for a quizz to try and guess what the five (or six) French authors (see below) have in common: Boileau-Narcejac ; Didier Daeninckx; Vernon Sullivan (aka Boris Vian); Paul Andreotta; San-Antonio
Passez-moi la Joconde, one of the earliest novels by San-Antonio (1954) formed part of an anthology of French Detective fiction published in Russia. The anthology contains five novels.(1) San-Antonio’s is the last one. The collection entirely lacks a sense of chronology’, nor does there seem to have been any attention paid to genre distinctions or any other criteria of classification. It would be an interesting question for a quiz(4) to try and guess what the following five (or six) French authors (see below)(5) have in common: Boileau-Narcejac ; Didier Daeninckx; Vernon Sullivan (aka Boris Vian); Paul Andreotta; San-Antonio.
Welcome to Belfast to all our delegates and participants in the San-Antonio International Conference Continue reading
By Sándor Kalai
Vilmos Kondor is (possibly the pseudonym of) a Hungarian crime fiction writer, who is internationally well known due to the translations of the first novel of his series, Budapest noir. The series relates the adventures of a journalist called Zsigmond Gordon from the 1930s till the revolution of 1956. Kondor mentions amongst his main influencers Jim Thompson, Dashiell Hammett and Charles Willeford. In the five novels of the series we can find not only the roman noir’s recurring themes (violence, corruption) and the evocation of the urban life of Budapest, but the author is also inspired by its poetics (behaviourist narrative).
The original Vilmos Kondor books in Hungarian
Created in the early 1950’s, the series of mass market paperback books Ullstein-Büchern, started in the mid 1950’s to offer a subdivision devoted to Crime Fiction, the Ullstein-Bücher Kriminalromane. This series had different numbers than the rest of the Ullstein- books, to differentiate them from the general series (Allgemeine Reihe). It started at number 701. Further differentiation, the big K on the title banner stands for Krimi. This is the mid and late 1950’s, and American authors are now predominant, in stark contrast to the original Ullstein Gelbe Reihe in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. A canonisation of the noir genre has happened elsewhere, and Ullstein books reflect this. The two first books published as Ullstein-Bücher Kriminalromane are Hammett (Der Malteser Falke) and Chandler (Einer weisst mehr). Hammett’s Bluternte is the sixth volume in the series. Continue reading
The Programme of the San-Antonio Conference is now live. It can be accessed here.
The poster for the conference can be accessed here.
If you are not scheduled to speak at the conference but wish to attend, or for any information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or please register following the registration form here : https://knock.qub.ac.uk/ecommerce/sac2015/index.php
San-Antonio, San-Antonio Polka, Beirut, Sawt al nas, 1994 (Translation Bassam Hajjar)
Ahead of the San-Antonio International Conference organised by the ICRH at Queen’s University, Belfast due to take place on the 15th and 16th of May (see CFP), here is a list of 78 international publishers, which published translations of books by Frédéric Dard. This result reflects research which is still in progress. A number of books which were identified but not yet located were not considered here. Hence, the actual figures are in many cases higher than the numbers quoted here. If you are aware of any publisher or publication not mentioned here, please let us know about them. In the table below, publishers are ranked by the number of books signed San-Antonio /Frédéric Dard they published and which we were able to trace.