Friday, October 4, 2013

Paris Noir

Aurélien Masson, Editor
Akashic Books
Reviewed by: Nancy
4 out of 5 stars


Paris Noir takes you on a ride through the old medieval center of town with its winding streets, its ghosts, and its secrets buried in history. This is more than an homage to the crime genre, to Melville and Godard, it’s also a lush introduction to the very best in French fiction.

Brand-new stories from: Marc Villard, Didier Daeninckx, Jean-Bernard Pouy, Salim Bachi, Christophe Mercier, Jerome Leroy, DOA, Laurent Martin, Herve Prudon, Patrick Pecherot, Dominique Mainard, and Chantal Pelletier.

My Review

Paris is a wonderful place to visit. I love the city for its grandeur, its palaces, museums, monuments, breathtaking views, restaurants, cafes, its rich culture and history. It is a dynamic, international and happening place. Being a tourist, however, is not the same as living, working, raising a family, and making friends in another country. “The City of Light” has a dark underbelly, particularly for those who do not speak French well and have difficulty assimilating into a new culture, those who are poor, or those not in the best of health. If you are young, healthy, strong, flexible, and financially sound, you can probably survive most anywhere.

Unlike Delhi Noir, the stories in this collection were all translated from the French language. I wish I had better knowledge of foreign languages, but in the meantime I am thankful for those translators who enable me to read and enjoy a wider variety of literature.

Even though I’ve visited Paris a number of times, the stories in this collection show the city and its inhabitants in an entirely different light.

It was a fun and worthwhile trip!

Here are the standouts in this collection:

Marc Villard’s The Chauffeur - Bad people get what’s coming to them, and the hooker stays alive. Gritty and sweet.

Chantal Pelletier’s The Chinese Guy - Beautiful descriptions of spring, flowers and food from the perspective of a mentally disturbed woman who becomes obsessed with a Chinese guy. One of my favorites.

Salim Bachi’s Big Brother - Highlights the lives and struggles of Algerians who live in Paris and how darkness and violence inhabits the soul of one man who feels unjustly treated by society.

Jean-Bernard Pouy’s The Revenge of the Waiters not only has a great title, it is a sad and humorous story that vividly portrays the lives of average working people and the inhabitants of old buildings about to be knocked down. A group of waiters are very concerned about an old jogger who seems to have gone missing and are determined to find him.

Dominique Mainard’s La Vie en Rose is a sad and gripping story about an aspiring author who wants to write a crime novel, but needs help understanding what could drive a murderer to kill. With help from his journalist friend, he gathers information about a brutal murder of a young girl and interviews an old man who may or may not know something about the crime.

Though the stories varied in quality, they were all enjoyable and entertaining.
Also posted at Goodreads.

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