Jacob's Reviews > Fatale

Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette
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's review
Dec 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: i-own, fiction-and-literature, nyrb, 2010-2011, mystery-crime-adventure-etc
Recommended to Jacob by: NYRB Book Club
Read from December 12 to 13, 2011

The beautiful and dangerous Aimée Joubert comes to the seaport town of Bléville, looking to stir up trouble, open old wounds, and escape--leaving a few dead bodies and many empty pockets in her wake. But something goes wrong--something goes very, very wrong--and a dash of crime turns into a heap of trouble.

I'm always wary when NYRB Classics publishes slim novella-length books, wondering instead why they don't package a few shorter works together into a volume of more reasonable length. Leonardo Sciascia comes to mind. As for Jean-Patrick Manchette--well, I wondered at first, but changed my mind. At only 91 pages, Fatale packs a punch. Short, violent, packed with more story and character development than one might expect--and probably deeper and more meaningful than I realized (the afterword by Jean Echenoz caused me to go back and reread several passages). Manchette wrote ten novels, and only three have been translated into English. I hope the other seven soon follow.
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