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Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,142 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
A cocky black cat that drinks cognac and can't stay out of holes, a hyperactive plumber who pulls out all the stops, an expiring jazzman who sells his sweat, a green soldier who moves into a terribly serious position - these are a few of the outrageous and poignant creations of Boris Vian in Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories. Julia Older makes available for the first ...more
Paperback, 116 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Bison Books (first published January 1st 1945)
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Luís C.
Aug 05, 2016 Luís C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boris Vian living now famous for its tombs of sputum and other dark harm seduced me from its appearance and adaptation of modern burlesque stories.
Read a new profile putting aside a corporation, that is the triumphant message from all his work.
Tingling in the legs, arms trembling, quivering book my astonishment tacks in the double sense as a maggot: carefully, meanly but surely, the tirades are there, humor too: pastiche failing real Pastis.
For define the works of Monsignor Vian holds in three w
Henry Martin
Jan 05, 2013 Henry Martin rated it it was amazing
In Blues for a black cat, Boris Vian's literary genius shines with rare intensity impossible to find in modern works. While I read a few of Vian's works in the past, revisiting this book was the perfect escape from the mundane world of today's literature. Without getting into any plot or revealing too much about this compilation of short stories, Blues for a black cat, is an insane, entertaining, humorous, profound, powerful avant-garde literary rarity. Vian's style remains unique decades after ...more
Maria Espadinha
Sep 08, 2015 Maria Espadinha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este livrinho obriga-me a uma segunda review pois considero que a primeira foi algo precipitada!
Confesso que inicialmente me deixei inebriar pelos aromas da loucura surrealista emanados pelos seus contos , o que me levou a pairar em vez de me entregar a voos de maior altitude.
Só mais tarde, após um olhar mais aguçado , é que vi alargados os meus horizontes!

E que vi eu, então ?
Vi o Homem Comum retratado da pior forma possível :
Vil, Mesquinho, Falso, Degradado, etc, etc,...
E se por acaso surgia na
Jul 06, 2009 Shawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-lit
And now, here's some Boris Vian!

I first ran into Vian's work in Alberto Manguel's excellent anthology BLACKWATER (a story called "Dead fish", included here) and was intrigued by the idea of a surrealist novelist (as the Surrealists generally found that the structured, long-form narrative concept of the novel did not mesh well with the interior, psychological, non-narrative aims of Surrealism). I also thought his titles sounded interesting (who wouldn't want to read something called FROTH ON THE
In Boris Vian's collection of short stories, the surrealism comes abruptly, without warning: in the middle of a normal set of events, strange things begin to happen, not strange in the sense of ghost stories, but in an unpredictable manner, orchestrated by the author's abundant imagination. I played along and followed the winding paths of dreamlike happenings, enjoying most of the stories. In a smaller or larger degree, they were all filled with violence, but Vian's black humour makes it way mor ...more
Aug 09, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing
I do like Boris Vian. I just read the line, It was raining octopi. But I don't know whether that means it's raining heavy or literally octopi are falling out of the sky. But does it really matter. His is a world where metaphors come true. (That's why he died at the cinema.)
Corinne Stoppelli
Mar 21, 2008 Corinne Stoppelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On peut dire que Vian possède un style unique et reconnaissable entre mille. Sa façon de jouer avec les mots surprend de façon plaisante le lecteur : un auteur qui n’a pas peur de dépasser les limites d’un genre et d’allégrement rire au nez de l’académisme. Ce recueil illustre tout à fait sa capacité à faire de la langue sa matière personnelle.

Le thème de la mort est abordé dans les trois dernières nouvelles (L’Écrevisse, Le Rappel et Les Chiens, le désir et la mort) de façon non conventionnelle
Nov 29, 2013 Charles rated it liked it
There was a time I would have been much more interested in these stories. The author of the introduction labels them of the surreal school and also throws references to Alfred Jarry in. I found very few pieces of literature in translation that were tied to the various schools (a few plays, a few poems, references to novels and writers I could not locate). There is also reference to the writers in the College of Pataphysique and Absurdism. Sarte was a friend and a fan of Vian.
The stories are fun
Apr 07, 2012 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moje první setkání s Borisem Vianem, které mě nalákalo k dalšímu čtení. Sada nesouvisejících, spíše více než méně absurdních povídek. Unášející práce s jazykem, představivostí a asociacemi, jejíž síla je zprostředkovaná skvělým překladem. Vlastně ani nedokážu říct, čím přesně mě Vian baví. Nejspíš tím, že číst Viana je dobrodružství jazyka a představivosti, kdy ani v půlce věty nelze odhadnout, jak daná věta skončí a jakým zvláštním, často humorným směrem děj posune a kdo na konci povídky zemře. ...more
Iluzija O. Istini
Trying too hard to be original rarely ends well.

It didn't end well.

After reading first story, which was an interesting experience, not great, but acceptable, a bit funny and a bit weird, rest became repetitive and as such painfully tiring. I got feeling that author isn't even trying to write well, but is all of his energy directing to be different. It just leaves taste of forced failure.

Don't even try reading this.
Nur Seza
May 14, 2016 Nur Seza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zamanında üniversite kütüphanesinde ancak ingilizcesini bulmuş ve okuyup çok beğenmiştim. Dün bir kitapevinde rastlayınca hemen diğer vian kitaplarımın arasına eklemek için aldım, zaten ilk baskıymış. Kendi dilimde okuyunca ÖLÜ BALIKLAR'ın en en en etkileyici Vian hikayesi olduğunu düşündüm, hepsi çok güzel ama ölü balıklar şahanee.
Ana Cretiu
Dec 02, 2014 Ana Cretiu rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-stories
no... never again... I shall leave surrealism to the ones who feel it, it did nothing for me besides torture my little soul. Such a tiny book, such great torment.
Joao Pedro
Jan 19, 2013 Joao Pedro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boris is one of my favorite writers and I have zero objectivity commenting on him. read his complete works, do a favor to yourself.
Dec 06, 2010 Tuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andrada Elena
Dec 01, 2016 Andrada Elena rated it really liked it
Refreshingly weird
Probabilmente mi sono cacciata nella più difficile impresa che mi potesse mai venire in mente.
Boris Vian è un famoso trombettista jazz del dopoguerra francese (muore nel 1959, a 39 anni, per malattia). Forse molti lo conoscono perché ha scritto (fra gli altri) la canzone "Le déserteur", che poi è stata rifatta e rivista in versione italiana da Tenco (per chi ne vuole sapere di più sulla versione di Tenco: ) e da Fossati.
Beh, ecco. L'aspetto di "Vian come
Nov 27, 2013 Realini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Spoiler alert: you may find what will happen in the story here!
This is a very interesting short story, which makes me want to read more stories written by Boris Vian. Le Monde has included on its list of best books L’Ecume des Jours.

The name of The Ants comes from the ants climbing on the hero of the story, right at the end. The action takes place in the middle of a vicious war and I wonder if it was a “real „conflict or only imaginary. Boris Vian seems to be a very original writer, he also wrot
Aug 03, 2015 danielp rated it liked it
A collection of surrealist short fiction, well-written and just as eccentric and riotous as jazz, the music of choice of its erstwhile author, once was. There are some rather interesting moments here and there, but all in all, I was less than impressed with the stories - which are, incidentally, really easy to imitate: try it, and see for yourselves. Their seemingly haphazard structure hearkens back to dream logic and old, old magic tales, where the flow of storytelling and the inventiveness of ...more
Rita Reis
Dec 09, 2014 Rita Reis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gostei muito. Conjunto de pequenos textos, onde Boris Vian brinca com os duplos sentidos das palavras e das expressões, e cria personagens sem sentido moral, criando um universo só seu, original e até inquietante. O homem que desembarca na Normandia e se queixa que não havia nenhuma recepção a aguardá-lo para além de tipos mortos ou bocados de tipos espalhados, por exemplo, como retrato da indiferença perante a guerra e as suas consequências. Devido a usar muito os duplos sentidos das palavras, ...more
Beatriz Fernandes
Jul 25, 2014 Beatriz Fernandes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like many of his works, these crazy dark humor tales make you feel confused with what just happened (what you read). In their own peculiar wat, the storys have some kind of moral, or they make you see what happens if you do something instead of another thing. It describes the reality, the author's reality (not literally the real world), and some events that always have a bad ending for the main character. In an extremist way, he (Boris Vian) gives you life and it's ups and downs. Well,... maybe ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Mathieu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Très bon recueil. Des textes majoritairement sombres ou grinçants, mais qui sont à chaque fois de petits bijoux. On retrouve également le côté absurde propre aux univers de Vian, et cette langue toujours très "malmené" pour le plus grand plaisir du lecteur.

Tous les textes ne se valent pas (ainsi en va-t-il des recueils), mais dans l'ensemble, c'est une lecture très agréable.
May 07, 2015 Leiliah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Páčilo sa!

Vianov zvláštny štýl mi prišiel veľmi blízky v Pene dní, ale tam bol ten štýl krásny. Tu nie je taký ľúbivý, je skôr veľmi drsný a miestami až krutý, ale svojím zveličovaním vyjadruje zlé stránky našej spoločnosti, pohŕda militarizmom. teším sa na ďalšie veci od Viana. A odporúčam prečítať si aj o živote autora.
Čavle Margarin
this site should allow half-star ratings. i would rate this two and a half stars then. although some of the stories were somewhat witty and amusing and i appreciate the concept or idea behind them, a lot if it is ultimately quite tedious and pointless. vian was an interesting character in any case. it's a shame he is so obscure today.
Aug 17, 2015 Mirela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate Vian's black humour a lot. These novels are concentrating on the sadistic nature of human being and on the indifference towards human's suffers and pain. I did engoy the nihilistic approach.
Nov 07, 2008 Bogdan rated it liked it
Shelves: french-lit
The style of this collection of short novels is not entirely on my liking. I liked something about this book but I cannot put my finger on it and name it right now.
My copy of this book is in romanian.
Jan 18, 2014 kuhu13 rated it did not like it
you rate a book 4*5* no need to explain you rate a book 'shit' they crane their heads
even DADAists themselves didn't consider etc.

self indulgent
he'd been a phillips fishmonger
Dec 20, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: TamTam Books' Fans
Shelves: borisvian
The one Boris Vian title I didn't publish and wished I did! Vian was a great short story writer - all of them absurd yet touching. He has that master's touch in combining a lot of elements and making a great dish or some sort of magic.
Sep 11, 2014 Gabriela rated it it was ok
It wasn't a good time for this book for me, it annoyed me, although I admit it's a pretty good brain-twister.
Feb 10, 2015 Zadignose marked it as partially-read
First Impression: Odd comic stories, reminiscent of S.J. Perelman, but more strange than funny. Literary larks.
Aug 05, 2010 Nim rated it liked it
Especially Ants
That sory was great, how humor and tragedy came hand in hand.
I cried and laughed at the same time
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Boris Vian was a French polymath: writer, poet, musician, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor and engineer. He is best remembered for novels such as L’Écume des jours and L'Arrache-cœur (translated into English as Froth on the Daydream and Heartsnatcher, respectively). He is also known for highly controversial "criminal" fiction released under the pseudonym Vernon Sullivan and some of his ...more
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