Re: RARA-AVIS: Jean-Patrick Manchette

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 14 Aug 2003

At 19:31 13-08-03 -0400, you wrote:
>Oh, Jennifer mentioned a biography of Manchette. Am I right to assume
>that hasn't been translated either? I mean if most of his books haven't
>. . .

Jennifer Howard is indeed briefly referring to Jean-Francois Gerault who published in 2000 a very good biography of Manchette, something that was lacking until then. It's about 100 pages thick, original paperback format: 'Jean-Patrick Manchette - Parcours d'une oeuvre' - encrage- France. I doubt it was translated in English yet.

On the other hand there was a very interesting special issue of the French mystery lit (mainly HB/Noir) magazine POLAR, in 1997, as a tribute to this writer. This special issue (210 pages PBO format) was entirely devoted to JP Manchette (who died in 1995), with some of his texts, letters, comments by other French writers, reference to films...etc. Disappointing because no complete factual study about Manchette's life and itinerary was included, but it contained very good approaches in analyzing some aspects of Manchette's works. A good complement to the above book.

Maybe interesting that you know also that he was the translator of many novels from English into French, including works by authors as different as
: Westlake, Robert Littell, Margaret Millar, Alan Moore, Ross Thomas... and more. He studied English in Paris' Sorbonne.

Searching for some references about other subjects, I stumbled this morning over a transcription I have of an old TV program devoted to the contemporary French mystery writers (it was in 1979- the program was
"Apostrophe" by Bernard Pivot, interviewer and producer). This French TV program was normally devoted to mainstream lit- min 90 min- and highly successful. This one from 1979 was assembling on the same stage : JP MANCHETTE, Lɏ MALET and ADG (another great author)... and some more conventional mystery authors. Interesting and very informative about these 3 writers. I saw it at the time. Mythic! Boileau and Narcejac, the famous thriller "tandem" was there also, but nobody was rude enough on that stage to openly remember to Mr Narcejac his lame, idiotic and false analysis of the "roman noir" and his future in his small book: "La fin d'un bluff" (the end of a bluff)- 1949.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries

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