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International Crime Fiction Research Group

Learn more about Amazon Prime. Back to top. Get to Know Us. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. When literature takes on the horror and the evil, what are the consequences for the author and for the reader? In the sixth lesson of his novel Elizabeth Costello, entitled 'The problem of evil', J. Coetzee questions the possibility for a novelist to come out of his fiction unharmed. Deeply troubled by the reading of a fictional novel written by Paul West, The Very Rich Hours of Count von Stauffenberg, fictitious memoirs in which National Socialist atrocities are described in the first- person narrative, Elizabeth Costello wonders about the contagion of evil: 'Can anyone […] wander as deep as Paul West does into the Nazi forest of horrors and emerge unscathed?

Have we considered that the explorer enticed into that forest may come out no better and stronger for the experience but worse? According to Elizabeth Costello, evil must be kept unspoken of and hidden because it is obscene: Obscene. That is the word, a word of contested etymology that she must hold on to as talisman. She chooses to believe that obscene means off-stage. To save our humanity, certain things that we may want to see may want to see because we are human! Paul West has written an obscene book, he has shown what ought not to be shown Coetzee Relying on a most likely false etymology, the obscene for Costello is what has to be kept out of sight, even if Costello herself does not completely understand the urge of her feelings. - The King of Fools - Frédéric Dard, Louise Lalaurie - Livres

The immersion in horror and perversion could be dangerous for the writer and for the reader as well, plunged into the depths of evil, as they both might lose their humanity. All translations from French are my translations. Settling their narrative point of view in the margins, a symbolic, lawless area of illness, madness, and violence Foucault , contemporary crime novels question individual violence as well as social injustice. In doing so, they remind the reader that sometimes, the most violent crime is perpetuated by the impunity of the state system, reducing and crushing individuals Foucault The first part of the novel deals with the corpse of Carmina, a young girl from Tijuana who died in Mexico during a party.

The press reveal that Carmina died of drug poisoning and sexual abuse and point out the persons at fault, i. Thus, from the very beginning of the novel, the reader clearly understands that business in Mexico is mostly about drugs and prostitution, mainly because of the extreme poverty endured by the Mexican people. To stress this tragic social situation, the novel underlines the contrast with the North: on the one hand, rich and young North American people coming to Tijuana for drugs and sex, on the other hand, poor Mexican people trying to escape for a better life in the North.

Exploitation, prostitution and drugs prevail in this world that is only led by money. To prove it, Diez shows that everything can be bought, from police to justice.

The less guilty of them benefit from the corrupted system and the guiltiest commit murders and are even part of the cartels, as the second and third parts of the novel prove. But what happens when the authority bearer stands for objectionable values? To what extent can corruption spread in the fiction without questioning the ethics of the novel itself?

Always perceived as a sexual stereotype, as an object to possess or as a corpse to dispose of, women embody many issues of this corrupted business in Mexico and question the ethical guidance offered by the detective narrator who always appears to be sarcastic and cynical about the necessity to manage and get money, as if general corruption and perversion could justify his own misbehaviour.

According to his metaphorical philosophy, the smell of perfume and the smell of excrement respectively represent innocence and crime, justice and violence, good and evil; both smells exist, but the prevalence of one of them depends on the person who smells it. In other words, justice and crime coexist, we only have to choose which one of them we want to see to taste success, i. This simple, popular and inoffensive pragmatism actually induces a fallacious philosophy where sophism triumphs.

This treacherous way of justifying the philosophy of pragmatism is also conveyed by cynicism, allowing the narrator to affirm something without standing for it. As indicated, relativism and humour are certainly meant to satirise the dysfunctional social system, and to question rationality in the novels means to question the limits of any absolute perception in social systems. However, as relevant as the use of humour and relativism are in theory, their omnipresence does not help the reader to understand the ethical guidance in the novel, keeping him from grasping where the narrative authority is precisely because the narrator is a cynical, corrupted, polygamous and misogynist detective.

Since he works in popular areas very successfully, his vulgarity associated with the first-person narrative could be seen as a way to create some empathy with the common man. In the history of the occidental novel, the 20th century marks a profound turn in the perception of authority.

La neige était sale (1950 ) Georges Simenon - Frederic Dard

Predominantly associated until then with an omniscient narrator in realist tradition, the "democratic novel" Wolf sees the rise of pluralist narration over auctorial authority. The impersonal and omniscient narrator is a traditional way for the reader to detect the normative system of validity in the novel Hamon , but in the absence of a trustworthy narrator it is difficult to recognise the normative system. This translation first published in by Daniel Seton, ISBN: 1 25 0. I submit this review for the Crimes of the Century at Past Offences , which this month looks at Book description : Seventeen-year-old Louise Lacroix is desperate to escape her dreary life.

So on her way home from work every evening she takes a detour past the enchanting house of Jess and Thelma Rooland — a wealthy and glamorous American couple — where the sun always seems to shine. But soon their seemingly perfect life begins to unravel.

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What terrible secrets are they hiding? Dripping with tension and yearning, Crush is a chilling Fifties suspense story of youthful naivety , dark obsession — and the slippery slope to murder. The film is available here. Louise, fascinated with their lifestyle, offers to work for them as in-house maid, with the healthy intention of building a better future for herself.

The tale describes very well the atmosphere in Europe at the time in which it was written and the admiration that existed for all things American. Crush is a short novel, hardly a page novella, that can easily be read in one sitting. The story is told in the first person by the own Louise Lacroix, what certainly is extremely bold an risky on the part of Dard, as the reader will undoubtedly discover at the end.

The reader will find it hard to identify with anyone of the characters, none will be sympathetic, and even though one can anticipate a certain tragedy, the final outcome is difficult to foresee. Enormously prolific, he wrote hundreds of thrillers, suspense stories, plays and screenplays throughout his long and illustrious career. He worked in Paris and Brussels, before starting out in publishing in and moving to Pushkin Press as an editor in Crush is his first foray into translation.

Pushkin Press publicity page.

20th-century French male writers

Pero las cosas no resultan ser como ella esperaba. Format: Kindle. Print Length: pages. First published in French as Les salauds vont en enfer in Translated by David Coward, ISBN: 1 24 3. So Frank and Hal find themselves holed up together in a grimy, rat-infested cell, each warily eyeing the other. As they plan a daring escape, an unexpected friendship ensues but which is the cop and which is the spy? My take: A brief introduction details the circumstances on which the novel unfolds.

Following the arrest of a man accused of spying, the police are unable to make him talk, even after being tortured. Therefore, a policemen receives the mission of impersonating a fellow inmate, gain his trust and arrange their escape from prison.

And only then, it will be possible to dismantle their network. The mission is not exempt of risks. He should not expect any help if he runs into troubles, not even for escaping the prison. His boss tells him bluntly:. My review of his first one, Bird in a Cage is here. It is therefore, a noir tale that attempts to deepen into the darkest corners of the human soul.

And I do have the perception that Dard is a master of his craft. An author that is very much worth to follow. And that, if my information is correct, his best books are still to come. About the author : Frederic Dard was one of the best known and loved French crime writers of the twentieth century. Enormously prolific, he wrote hundreds of thrillers, suspense stories, plays and screenplays, under a variety of noms de plume, throughout his long and illustrious career, which also saw him win the Grand prix de litterature policiere for The Executioner Weeps , forthcoming from Pushkin Vertigo.

Other reviews : I was quite frankly mesmerised from start to finish, despite the darkness and sense of base evil that the book consistently exhibits, and I loved the aspect of reader participation that Dard so skilfully wove into the tale as we seek to discover the true identity of each man, and the descent into immorality we are all capable of.

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Raven Crime Reads. Having said that, it is a surprise that Dard had the time to look back at what he had written as I suggest, for he knocked out a whopping thrillers in his writing career, by some accounts.