RARA-AVIS: Jean Echenoz

From: Grimes ( redgrimes@sbcglobal.net)
Date: 27 Apr 2004

 . . . is a French writer who was described in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review as being influenced by Gustave Flaubert and Dashiell Hammett. Sounds interesting. So does the first sentence of the book under review,
"Piano": [Max] is afraid. He is going to die a violent death in 22 days but, as he is yet unaware of this, that is not what he is afraid of." We then learn that Max is a pianist gripped by stage fright and alcoholism - which makes me think we can add Goodis to Echenoz' list of influences.

The reviewer writes that Echenoz' "sardonic take on Hammett's harid-boiled detective fiction is pure art" - but then also adds that his PI's are"soft-boiled investigators - they're not even real detectives, just guys chasing someone." And then when I searched the archives, the only referenceto Echenoz I found was from 1999 by Mark Sullivan, who in response to a query about French noir available in the U.S. wrote, "Jean Echenoz doesn't really count as noir, does he?"

Five years later, does anyone have anything to add?

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