lunes, 9 de octubre de 2017


Chourmo (Folio Policier, 2014)
by Jean-Claude Izzo
France, 1996

Two books into Izzo's brooding Marseille Trilogy, I'm increasingly bummed that I only have one more title in the series to look forward to.  Rad "mayhem yarn," somewhere between Raymond Chandler's Marlowe novels and Yasmina Khadra's Commissaire Llob quartet both in temperament and on the crime-and-disillusionment scale, spun with pace and soul not to mention an unusually distinctive sense of place.  A Marseille where corrupt cops, the white collar wing of the international mafia, and local Islamist extremists from the Bronx-like northern banlieues of the city all vie to suck the life blood out of their teeming prey in the so-called "première ville du tiers-monde" ["first city of the Third World"] (423).  And a Marseille in which even the most world-weary among its inhabitants can find some much needed solace in revisiting old folk songs imported from Algiers and Naples, savoring the perfect bouillabaisse or partaking in some other aspect of the immigrant-rich patrimony of "l'art de vivre marseillais" ["the Marseille-style art of living"] (389).  "La vie est un mauvais film, oú le Technicolor ne change rien au fond de l'histoire" ["Life is a bad movie where Technicolor doesn't change anything at the heart of the story"] (385), laments ex-cop Fabio Montale in a line that could have been lifted straight out of a Jean-Pierre Melville French gangster film, reflecting on friends and family now gone--a lament rife with irony given the vitality of the life-force coursing through Izzo's sour mash note to his native city. A treat.

Jean-Claude Izzo (1945-2000)

Chourmo appears on pp. 305-579 of Izzo's La trilogie Fabio Montale (Paris: Folio Policier, 2014).  For more on the preceding volume in the trilogy, please see the post about Total Khéops written in an almost unintelligible French here.

domingo, 1 de octubre de 2017

"Entre Andreiev y Arlt": The 2017 Argentinean (& French & Russian) Literature(s) of Doom: September Links

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
Juan Moreira by Eduardo Gutiérrez

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola

Rise, in lieu of a field guide
(on The Lover by Marguerite Duras)

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
For anybody interested in more Zola (and who isn't?), just want to put in a belated plug for the five bitchin' posts Tom of Wuthering Expectations ran as part of Thérèse Raquin Week all the way back in 2010.  Great stuff!

Doom, with a new table of discontents, will continue in October.  It's never too late to join in on the "fun."