Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Dantec

From: E.Borgers (
Date: 24 Apr 2006

First, I want to underline that if I dismissed the last works of Dantec, the reason is not because he mixes genres. He just could not control his writing anymore... But Duane pointed to an interesting question. Not so simple to answer.

I must say that personally I think Behm just liked the "supernatural" and a bit of fantasy and surreal things in his stories. Even, a lot more of these things can be found in his further writings, as in a few other novels than THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. Seems to be like his writer inclination. I, on the other hand think that this mix and surrealism...etc. is probably more easily accepted in the French tradition for genre lit. Inclusive noir and HB. However you will find strong detractors there as well, because they do not think fit mixing what should be "pure" realism (for HB, noir) and surrealism. But they are not the majority.

During the last 15/20 years, it's a fact that quite a number of French writers have chosen to introduce surrealism and very dark noir humor in their novels which however are still belonging to the HB/noir domain. Of course, it means that you cannot consider HB/noir as a closed genre, as many still do, to admit that these novels still belong there... Writers like Nadine Monfils (she produced two exceptional novels in that vein), Franz Bartelt, J-B Pouy (occasionally), Thierry Jonquet (two or three novels), Daniel Penac (his Malauss讥 cycle of novels), Jean-Baptiste Baronian (especially in his short stories) are amongst the best contemporary noir French writers doing mix of genres. But they all publish this kind of works in regular "policier" (= mystery ficton) imprints, rarely by "fantastique" (branch of genre lit.close to fantasy-SF- very popular in France) publishing houses.


Duane Spurlock :
> "E.Borgers" <> wrote:
> <<
> However, if you ask my opinion, Dantec became a schizophrenic writer
> during the last 5-6 years, and, you're right, Babylon Babies (1999
> in
> French) is SF . Unless you are attracted by literary oddities, my
> friendly advice is to stay away from the book. Too long, too much, too
> paranoid... and finally not much left after reading it
> -but it had its supporters.
> It's a pity because Dantec was a gifted writer, and his first novels
> are
> still worth to be read, but I do not think they were translated: "La
> sirène rouge" (The Red Mermaid), 1993 - "Les racines du mal" (The
> Roots
> of Evil), 1995. the second one was a big success; he already mixed
> genres: noir and a bit of cyberpunk SF, but it was balanced and
> interesting. Both were published by Série Noire.
> In the post-EYE OF THE BEHOLDER novels by Marc Behm I've read, he does a bit of genre mixing as well.
> Part noir, part dark fantasy.
> Behm has lived in France for many years, and I wonder if this is just something he's picked up as part of the
> French popular literary milieu, or is there a "genre" of mixed-genre fiction that's popular in Europe?
> - Duane Spurlock


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 24 Apr 2006 EDT