Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette, Jean Echenoz & Donald Nicholson-Smith
(New York Review Books Classics)

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Synopsis

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Whether you call her a coldhearted grifter or the soul of modern capitalism, there’s no question that Aimée is a killer and a more than professional one. Now she’s set her eyes on a backwater burg—where, while posing as an innocent (albeit drop-dead gorgeous) newcomer to town, she means to sniff out old grudges and engineer new opportunities, deftly playing different people and different interests against each other the better, as always, to make a killing. But then something snaps: the master manipulator falls prey to a pure and wayward passion.

Aimée has become the avenging angel of her own nihilism, exacting the destruction of a whole society of destroyers. An unholy original, Jean-Patrick Manchette transformed the modern detective novel into a weapon of gleeful satire and anarchic fun. In Fatale he mixes equal measures of farce, mayhem, and madness to prepare a rare literary cocktail that packs a devastating punch.
 

About Jean-Patrick Manchette, Jean Echenoz & Donald Nicholson-Smith

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Jean-Patrick Manchette (1942-1995) was a genre-redefining French crime novelist, screenwriter, critic, and translator. Born in Marseille to a family of relatively modest means, Manchette grew up in a southwestern suburb of Paris, where he wrote from an early age. While a student of English literature at the Sorbonne, he contributed articles to the newspaper La Voix Communiste and became active in the national students' union. In 1961 he married, and with his wife, Mélissa began translating American crime fiction-he would go on to translate the works of such writers as Donald Westlake, Ross Thomas, and Margaret Millar, often for Gallimard's Série noire. Throughout the 1960s Manchette supported himself with various jobs writing television scripts, pornographic screenplays, young-adult books, and film novelizations. In 1971 he published his first novel, a collaboration with Jean-Pierre Bastid, and embarked on his literary career in earnest, producing ten subsequent works over the course of the next two decades and establishing a new genre of French novel, the néo-polar (distinguished from traditional detective novel, or polar, by its political engagement and social radicalism). During the 1980s, Manchette published celebrated translations of Alan Moore's Watchmen graphic novels for a bandes-dessinée publishing house co-founded by his son, Doug Headline. In addition to Fatale, Manchette's novels Three to Kill and The Prone Gunman, as well as Jacques Tardi's graphic-novel adaptations of them (titled West Coast Blues and Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, respectively), are available in English. Donald Nicholson-Smith's translations of noir fiction include Manchette's Three to Kill, Thierry Jonquet's Mygale (a.k.a. Tarantula), and (with Alyson Waters) Yasmina Khadra's Cousin K. He has also translated works by Guy Debord, Paco Ignacio Taibo II , Henri Lefebvre, Antonin Artaud, and Guillaume Apollinaire. Born in Manchester, England, he is a longtime resident of New York City. Jean Echenoz is a prominent French novelist, many of whose works have been translated into English, among them Chopin's Move (1989), Big Blondes (1995), and most recently Ravel (2008) andRunning (2009).
 
Published December 7, 2011 by NYRB Classics. 98 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Fatale

Publishers Weekly

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"For her stay in Bléville, the young woman had chosen to call herself Aimée Joubert, and that is what I shall call her from now on," Manchette says of his female assassin, who "aside from her husband," as French author Jean Echenoz mentions in the afterword, "has already killed seven men, among...

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Fatale (New York Review Books...

The Wall Street Journal

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But for the most part, Manchette's legacy has been preserved by writers of mainland Europe for whom he set the tone, like France's Thierry Jonquet and Didier Daeninickx and England's own bard of noir Derek Raymond (aka Robin Cook).

May 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Fatale (New York Review Books...

Bestsellersworld

Whether you call her a coldhearted grifter or the soul of modern capitalism, there's no question that Aimée is a killer and a more than professional one.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Fatale (New York Review Books...

Portland Book Review

“Whichever way you go,” writes Manchette, “there is a long hill to climb before you get out of Bléville.” As Jean Echenoz writes in the afterword to the book, such sentences are “freighted with strange metaphorical ambiguities” which hint at the larger cynicism behind the novel.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Fatale (New York Review Books...

Spinetingler Magazine

But when it comes time to put the plan into action our seemingly sociopathic Aimee has a crisis of conscience as the murder victim in her scenario is not a capitalist pig like usual but the kindly and eccentric Baron Jules, the hoarder of the local dirt who said pigs will pay Aimee handsomely hav...

Jun 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Fatale (New York Review Books...

The New York Review of Books

In 1971 he published his first novel, a collaboration with Jean-Pierre Bastid, and embarked on his literary career in earnest, producing ten subsequent works over the course of the next two decades and establishing a new genre of French novel, the néo-polar (distinguished from the traditional det...

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Fatale (New York Review Books...

Book Forum

Manchette's cunning intuition was to suggest that crime fiction isn't so much a progressive solution as another part of the cultural problem, as though the rote conventions of popular noir were only stylized instances of bourgeois repression, and that to destroy society you must also destroy the ...

| Read Full Review of Fatale (New York Review Books...

Full Stop

When Jean-Patrick Manchette wrote Fatale in France in the late 1970s, he was inspired by the work of an earlier generation of writers from a different continent, the American noir writers of the 1930s and 40s.

May 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Fatale (New York Review Books...

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