Translated by Amber Shields
Based on the life of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, Jacques Jouet's Savage compels the reader to ask whether it is the primitive or the civilized man who is savage. At the height of the Belle Époque, an eccentric young clothing designer searches for inspiration and identity as an artist among the "savage" peoples of France's colonies. Influenced by several exotic lovers, a quirky vieille dame, and Édouard Manet himself, Paul's increasingly unconventional designs parallel his increasingly unbalanced state of mind as he struggles to find a market for his work among the haute bourgeoisie. The failure of this venture, coupled with psychosis due to an untreated illness, ultimately leads to his demise.
Nb of pages 108 p.
Publication Date 01 June 2009
Nb of pages 108
List Price $12.95
The pages presented here with the curt but comprehensive title of Savage, as well as an indication of their genre (novel), were not found, half mutilated, in the false bottom of a secret drawer, or in a privateer’s chest, hidden in the attic of some manor. The material in them wasn’t gleaned from the lips of a dying man anxious for his tale to enter an attentive ear. They weren’t rescued from the temporary obscurity to which I don’t know how many of my servile creatures—characters, despite themselves, in the following story, and pseudo-occupiers of its alleged appendices—might have wished to banish them.
In less than twenty years, Jacques Jouet has quietly elaborated one of the most astonishing bodies of work in French literature today. He has published twenty-four books to date without ever seeming to rewrite himself, which in itself distinguishes him from many of his contemporaries . . . In short, Jouet is an experimentalist in the best sense of that word, a writer whose work comes to us fresh, each book a 'new' book, all of them clearly the product of a literary imagination animated by a keen, ludic intelligence.
From the perspective of American readers, Jacques Jouet's writing is one of contemporary French literature's best-kept secrets. That's because until very recently none of his books had found their way into English translation—and the fault is ours rather than his, because Jouet himself has been producing smart, funny, vibrant, pungent literature in astonishing diversity and abundance for the last quarter century. -Warren Motte
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Genres : Fiction : Movements and Schools : Oulipo
Genres : Fiction : Europe : Western Europe
Countries : France