RARA-AVIS: Jean-Patrick Manchette

From: Lehane, Con [NEA] ( CLehane@nea.org)
Date: 02 Oct 2002

From the for-what-it's-worth department: Francois Guerif of Rivages/Noir in an interview some time back credited Manchette with writing the review that launched James Ellroy in France. The interview is with Brad Spurgeon and I'm pasting a section below. But, first-class researcher that I am, I no longer remember where it came from.

B.S.: Was it an immediate success? F.G.: At first the book kind of upset readers. For about a month the book wasn't talked about, didn't move. Then I had an incredible bit of luck. I was friends with Jean-Patrick Manchette, who is still today, the best writer of the 1970s in France and who created what we call the neo-polar. Almost all the young writers today look up to him. So he is the father of the neo-polar and the best writer of his generation. And he stopped writing in 1981. He was a mythic figure, who sort of went into hiding. And I was speaking to Manchette and he said to me in the course of the conversation, "I just read an incredible book--Blood on the Moon. Do you have many more like that?" I said, "I'm glad you like it, but no one's talking about it." So when Liberation [a daily newspaper] learned this, they asked Manchette to review the book. And he did. And the day the review appeared, that was the kick-off. And it has never ended. That was in 1987.

con lehane
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