Thursday, April 26, 2012
Featured: Jean-Patrick Manchette
"Whether you call her a coldhearted grifter or the soul of modern capitalism, there’s no question that Aimée is a killer and a more than professional one. Now she’s set her eyes on a backwater burg—where, while posing as an innocent (albeit drop-dead gorgeous) newcomer to town, she means to sniff out old grudges and engineer new opportunities, deftly playing different people and different interests against each other the better, as always, to make a killing. But then something snaps: the master manipulator falls prey to a pure and wayward passion.
Aimée has become the avenging angel of her own nihilism, exacting the destruction of a whole society of destroyers. An unholy original, Jean-Patrick Manchette transformed the modern detective novel into a weapon of gleeful satire and anarchic fun. In Fatale he mixes equal measures of farce, mayhem, and madness to prepare a rare literary cocktail that packs a devastating punch."
"Martin Terrier, ice-cold mercenary-turned-contract-killer, has his future all mapped out: He has just executed what he intends to be his final job and is ready to move on to the next phase of his life, which involves discreet retirement accompanied by a long-lost girlfriend. But Terrier’s employers are emphatically not pleased with his decision, old enemies begin to re-emerge, and soon Terrier is forced to once again ply his brutal trade.
Five years after West Coast Blues, his acclaimed adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s Le Petit bleu de la côte ouest (a.k.a. Three to Kill), Jacques Tardi returns to the world of guns, crime, betrayal and bloodshed with this stunning, grisly, and remarkably faithful interpretation of Manchette’s last completed crime thriller. Manchette himself claimed to have written the novel in an attempt to emulate the ultraviolent, hellbent-for-leather, pitch-black ambiance of Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly, and Tardi matches him bullet for bullet and blow for blow. As The Village Voice noted of the original novel (La Position du tireur couché, released in English under the title The Prone Gunman by City Lights in 2001), “Thirty pages before the finale, it’s hard not to wonder how the book could possibly end... But the book does end, in circumstances far worse than you might easily imagine, on a note of extraordinary bleakness."
"Businessman Georges Gerfaut witnesses a murder-and is pursued by the killers. His conventional life knocked off the rails, Gerfaut turns the tables and sets out to track down his pursuers. Along the way, he learns a thing or two about himself.... Manchette-masterful stylist, ironist, and social critic-limns the cramped lives of professionals in a neo-conservative world."
"Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942–1995) was a genre-redefining French crime novelist, screenwriter, critic, and translator. Born in Marseille to a family of relatively modest means, Manchette grew up in a southwestern suburb of Paris, where he wrote from an early age. While a student of English literature at the Sorbonne, he contributed articles to the newspaper La Voix Communiste and became active in the national students’ union. In 1961 he married, and with his wife, Mélissa began translating American crime fiction—he would go on to translate the works of such writers as Donald Westlake, Ross Thomas, and Margaret Millar, often for Gallimard’s Série noire. Throughout the 1960s Manchette supported himself with various jobs writing television scripts, pornographic screenplays, young-adult books, and film novelizations. In 1971 he published his first novel, a collaboration with Jean-Pierre Bastid, and embarked on his literary career in earnest, producing ten subsequent works over the course of the next two decades and establishing a new genre of French novel, the néo-polar (distinguished from the traditional detective novel, or polar, by its political engagement and social radicalism). During the 1980s, Manchette published celebrated translations of Alan Moore’s Watchmen graphic novels for a bandes-dessinée publishing house co-founded by his son, Doug Headline. In addition to Fatale, Manchette’s novels Three to Kill and The Prone Gunman, as well as Jacques Tardi’s graphic-novel adaptations of them (titled West Coast Blues and Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, respectively), are available in English."
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