Saturday, July 7, 2012

"The High Life" by Jean-Pierre Martinet

Ah, a new literary hero in the making - for me!  The late Jean-Pierre Martinet (1944-1993) had written a perfect little gem of a book called "The High Life."  It is a about a man who works at a cemetery who has an over-weight woman with a certain sexual passion for him.  And by the description of it, the romance doesn't sound so hot.  But its the main character's inner-life that is fascinating.  His obsession of taking care of his father's grave, which by including having his rifle aimed towards the grave site to keep away cats, etc.  

The translator Henry Vale compares Martinet as a mixture of Céline and Jim Thompson - and that is actually quite right.   This is a very intense short story that doesn't waste one word.  And special nod must go to the great Wakefield Press for not only putting this book out - but the design of it is top-notch.  A beautiful object of a book about a rather indecent man.   Perfect combination!

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