Saturday, September 26, 2015

"Henri Duchemin and his Shadows" by Emmanuel Bove (Introduction by Donald Breckenridge) Translated from the French by Alyson Waters

978-1-59017-832-4, $14.95, nyrb classics

I have never read Emmanuel Bove, and now, I feel like I have a good new friend.  On the other hand, do I need him as a friend?  The short stories all deal with a main character who feels misplaced or not connecting on a human level with others or their settings.  In many ways, they are totally self-destructive figures who seem to enjoy their fall from grace to embrace emotional failure.  Most of his fiction was written between the two world wars, so it's a world that itself is in conflict, and i think Bove is commenting on the nature of that landscape and how one lives on that mental state of depression and fear of the future.  Relationships seem to be built on quicksand than on pavement and ground.  Bove captures these moments that are totally believable, yet they are basically insane people.   Right now, I feel we are going through an age of intense anxiety.   "Henri Duchemin and his Shadows" expresses the culture of the 20s, and makes perfect sense in the year 2015 as well. 

Emmanuel Bove

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