Re: RARA-AVIS: French novels

Philip Benz (
Sat, 19 Jun 1999 15:29:14 +0200

Bill asks:
<< In these French novels that have been mentioned, are slang and accents and dialects used much? >>

I can only comment on the ones I've read. Here's the spread: 1) Maigret is of course about as center-of-the-road standard French as you can get. 2) Izzo's _Total Kheops_ is mostly standard French in the narrative, and although there is a lot of slang in the insults, the ethnic qualifications and the dialog, I found it quite digestible. The language makes for a strong element of local color, a strong flavor of Marseille, the melting pot of France. Fills the same role as hard-boiled slang of earlier eras, IMO. 3) San Antonio is the extreme, I can hardly make it through a page or two without setting it down, out of frustration, due to the heavy use of impenetrable slang (though it's been a few years since I last tried...) Now *that* would be a real dog to translate.

BTW, someone mentioned _Chourmo_, the second novel to feature the hero from _Total Kheops_, Fabio Montale. Montale quit the force at the end of Kheops, so I suspect he's beginning to look more and more like the hard-boiled private eye all the time.

Cheers, --- Phil Lyc饠Astier, Aubenas, France Teaching English with Sam Spade pages at:

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