Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"The Sundays of Jean Dézert" by Jean de la Ville de Mirmont (Wakefield Press)

The beauty of working in a bookstore is going over stock and finding something special to read and own. "The Sundays of Jean Dézert" by Jean de Ville de Mirmont is such a book. Reading this book in the 21st century, the reader can gather a mixture of a Guy Debord study of boredom and alienation with elements of Andre Breton's great novel of Paris "Nadja." This 1914 novel is a beautiful exploration of Paris but through the eyes of a total alienated civil employee as he seeks normalcy in all its bland wonder.

The character of Jean Dézert is one that we see every day at work, or perhaps we recognize this figure within ourselves. Due to comfort and habit, Dézert lives in a very scheduled world. The novella brings out textures and nuances of such a life, and even when he finds 'love' of some fashion, it is still part of the schedule or plan. Its author Jean de La Ville de Mirmont is a mystery to me. He died as a soldier in World War 1, a few months after writing this book. I have often praised Wakefield Press for its vision of focusing on modernist writers that fell through the cracks of time and attention. This is a great book.

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