META NAME="Forgotten Classics" CONTENT="neglected novels forgotten authors."

forgotten classics

'Reading neglected writers so you don't have to' A Time Out column and a blog for books that seem to be undeservedly forgotten, from John Galsworthy to Rose Macaulay, from Amos Tutuola to DH Lawrence, from W. Somerset Maugham to Fanny Burney. What books do you think we should revive? If you love a writer who has lapsed in popularity please let me know! Are my choices controversial?

Friday, July 28, 2006

holiday reading 2

Jean-Patrick Manchette, The Prone Gunman, trans. James Brook (to be republished by Serpent’s Tail in November)


Manchette is the master of stripped-down, masculine French noir. Much like the films of Jean-Pierre Melville*, whose clipped, amoral style he echoes, Manchette deals with the intricate details of criminal life whilst eschewing any emotion or judgement. The Prone Gunman follows professional assassin Martin Terrier (often just referred to as ‘the man’, his anonymity and amorality reflected in a stylistic trick) as he attempts to go straight. His employers, naturally, desire him to stay on and chaos follows their attempts first to reclaim him and then to control him. The novel is cool, taut and brief. Manchette is generally underconsidered – as, indeed, is the French tradition in general – when noir or hard-boiled fiction is discussed (flashier Americans generally dominate) but he is well worth taking a look at.



*if you don’t know Melville, seek out Le Cercle Rouge or Le Samourai.


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