RARA-AVIS: Jean Echenoz

From: Chris Kubsch ( kubsch@rogers.com)
Date: 28 Apr 2004

Greetings everyone:

I am a new lurker-turned poster who had to chirp up when I saw mention of Jean Echenoz.

I read Echenoz's *Big Blondes* a few years back and remember enjoying it. The writing style is unique. He takes quite a few risks with the narrative, and at time borders on the surreal (in a Haruki Murakami kind of way).

First sentence of the book sets the tone: "You are Paul Salvador and you are looking for someone."

Is it hardboiled? Not quite. But worth the read.


> . . . is a French writer who was described in this Sunday's New York
> 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
> chasing someone." And then when I searched the archives, the only
> referenceto Echenoz I found was from 1999 by Mark Sullivan, who in
> 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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