Synopses & Reviews
(1898–1945) was a French journalist and novelist. He had been publishing popular novels under the pseudonym Jean Vallois for several years when Colette helped him publish the novel Mes amis
under his own name. He continued publishing successful novels until World War II, at which time he was forced into exile in Algeria. He died of heart failure soon after returning to Paris from exile.
Alyson Waters has translated several works from the French by Albert Cossery, Louis Aragon, René Belletto, and many others and has received a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, a PEN Translation Fund grant, and residency grants from the Centre National du Livre and Villet Gillet in Lyon. She teaches literary translation in the French department of Yale University and is the managing editor of Yale French Studies. She lives in Brooklyn.
Donald Breckenridge is the fiction editor of The Brooklyn Rail, co-editor of InTranslation, managing editor of Red Dust and the author of more than a dozen plays, a novella, and the novels 6/2/95, You Are Here, and This Young Girl Passing. He lives in Brooklyn.
An NYRB Classics Original
Emmanuel Bove was one of the most original writers to come out of twentieth-century France and a popular success in his day. Discovered by Colette, who arranged for the publication of his first novel, My Friends, Bove enjoyed a busy literary career, until the German occupation silenced him. During his lifetime, his novels and stories were admired by Rilke, the surrealists, Camus, and Beckett, who said of him that "more than anyone else he has an instinct for the essential detail."
Henry Duchemin and His Shadows is the ideal introduction to Bove's world, with its cast of stubborn isolatoes who call to mind Melville's Bartleby, Walser's "little men," and Rhys's lost women. Henri Duchemin, the protagonist of the collection's first story, "Night Crime," is ambivalent, afraid of appearing ridiculous, desperate for money: in other words, the perfect prey. Criminals, beautiful women, and profiteers threaten the sad young men of Bove's stories, but worse yet are the interior voices and paranoia that propel them to their fates. The poet of the flophouse and the dive, the park bench and the pigeon's crumb, Bove is also a deeply empathetic writer for whom no defeat is so great as to silence desire.