January 18, 2020

Jean Echenoz: current French novelist

Although very little known in the U. S., Jean Echenoz may be one of France’s best living fiction writers. Being interested in World War I novels, I came upon “1914,” Echenoz’s slim but elegantly incisive novel on the vagaries of life during the war of trenches, mustard gas and “No Man’s Land.”

As a musician, I was next drawn to his diminutive book entitled “Ravel, loosely based on the composer’s visit to America and his head injury incurred in a taxi accident.

The comedy novel “Piano” is about a fictional concert pianist with debilitating stage fright and rampant alcoholism which alleviates it. Purgatory and banishment to the “urban zone” figure into the pianist’s journey as Echenoz fashions a modern day nod to Dante in this spare novella.

The winner of ten literary prizes, Echenoz has 12 books listed in his wikipedia biography so I have nine more chances to enjoy his distinctive and amusing prose.

 

“1914”

“Piano”

“Ravel”

All written by Jean Echenoz and published by The New Press

Comments

  1. Ginny Morin says

    Thanks, will look into one of these for my book group.

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