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L'Écume des jours

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  26,348 ratings  ·  1,131 reviews
Chick, Alise, Chloé et Colin passent leur temps à dire des choses rigolotes, à écouter Duke Ellington et à patiner. Dans ce monde où les pianos sont des mélangeurs à cocktails, la réalité semble ne pas avoir de prise. On se marie à l'église comme on va à la fête foraine et on ignore le travail, qui se réduit à une usine monstrueuse faisant tache sur le paysage.

Pied de nez

...more
Paperback, 351 pages
Published February 26th 1997 by Le Livre de Poche (first published March 11th 1947)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Warwick
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, paris
Wow, this book destroyed me. Beautiful, oneiric, sexy, deadpan, linguistically inventive – and then in the end remorselessly tragic.

You know what reading this book is like? It's like you're sitting there having fun, the sun's shining – and who do you see bouncing towards you but the most adorable, cute little character you can imagine. The Andrex puppy, say—



Aw, look! It's the Andrex puppy! C'mere, little fella! And he bounds over to you, his little tail wagging away, birds tweeting in the backgr
...more
Manny
I only discovered this recipe a couple of years ago, but it has already become one of my favorites. It's hard to believe that the different ingredients go together! In fact, they complement each other perfectly.

French manga with fatal love stories and roasted Sartre

1 medium manga
2 fatal love stories
whole early Sartre, including author
Lewis Carroll-style wordplay
some P.G. Wodehouse
ridicule
panache
brio


Trim the manga, retaining a good part of the extreme violence, sex and nudity, and transpose into
...more
Manny
After watching the new movie last week, I had to reread the book.

Well, the text version is better, but the movie is reasonably faithful to it and does sometimes manage to supply a charming or witty illustration. For example:

Le pianocktail

Le pianocktail
- À chaque note, dit Colin, je fais correspondre un alcool, une liqueur ou un aromate. La pédale forte correspond à l'œuf battu et la pédale faible à la glace. Pour l'eau de Seltz, il faut un trille dans le registre aigu. Les quantités sont en raison directe de
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
[9/10]


Only two things really matter - there's love, every kind of love, with every kind of pretty girl; and there's the music of Duke Ellington, or traditional jazz. Everything else can go, because all the rest is ugly - and the few pages which follow as an illustration of this draw their entire strength from the fact that the story is completely true since I made it up from beginning to end.

Here's the promise and the warning that Boris Vian gives us in the introduction to his 1947 novel. The
...more
Fede
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh, absolute Joy.

Oh absolute, annihilating, cathartic Beauty of the Word.

It's the third time I surrender to its magic and yet the ineffable, all-pervading delight hasn't vanished... so I'd better write something coherent before letting the secret pleasures of the Stendhal syndrome overwhelm me.

It starts like "La Boum"... and ends like "Love Story".
It's a poem by Prévert... illustrated by Salvador Dalí.
It's a white feather caressing your skin... and leaving a bleeding sore that will never heal
...more
Tosh
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borisvian
There has been three translations of "L'ecme des jours" Brian Harper's translation "Foam of the Daze" (my press TamTam Books), "Mood Indigo" (American trans.) and this British edition translated by Stanley Chapman "Froth on the Daydream." Translations are a fascinating subject matter, because basically it is how one looks at a book and how they tell the tale in a lanugage that is suibtable for that book or culture.

Since I am the publisher, I of course nod towards Brian's translation - one becau
...more
P.E.
A novel challenging classification, in which verbal fireworks are in the driver's seat!
Nevermind Boris Vian looking like Emmanuel Macron, they are not made from the same dough :)

Musicscape :
Brutal Swing - Igorrr

------------

Roman plutôt inclassable, dans lequel la fantaisie verbale tient le haut du pavé !

Lu sur l'invite de mon père.

Fonds Musical :
Brutal Swing - Igorrr
Mariel
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: two mustaches mingled together
Recommended to Mariel by: why did you have her die?
He got passed her and started crying. She was at least fifty-nine years old. He sat down on the curb and cried some more. It relieved him greatly and his tears froze with little crackling sounds and broke on the smooth granite sidewalk.

The garden of children must make their eviction charges like a game of musical chairs. Skies are clown shoes thundering the last laugh. Colin reminded me of my usual answer if I like children or not. “[Searches for an example, every time] Uh, it depends on the kid
...more
Tomas Ramanauskas
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gold
I hope you’ll be luckier: my reading of Vian’s modern classic was contaminated with the prior viewing of an infantile French movie by Michel Gondry, called ‘Moon Indingo’. My vague memory has achingly reproduced the characters and some random settings from the film, sneaking them into the book, stealing from my possibilities to flex the imagination muscle.

Despite all this irritation, I have breezed through this book constantly feeling enormous sense of adoration. Vian’s word play, tongue in che
...more
Chris_P
L' Écume Des Jours, Foam of the Daze, Mood Indigo, Ο Αφρός των Ημερών

If what I like to call the romantic side of me was to write a book, it wouldn't be that exactly, but something very close to it.

Boris Vian builds an enchanting world of pink clouds and cotton candy made of rays of sunshine, just to tear it apart with a dashing blow. He plants little blue flowers in your mind, just to unleash a herd of omnivorous sheep that will voraciously feed on them along with all that's beautiful and sweet
...more
Lavinia
Sep 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2008
One might like this book for many reasons: because it's a love story, because it's unconventional, quite bohemian [amelie poulain-like] and maybe even because it's surrealistic and s.f. i called this book a collective bildungsroman, because i have the feeling all characters undergo major changes during the book.


***
o carte care place in primul rind pentru ca e o poveste de dragoste, in al doilea rind pentru ca e neconventionala si nu in ultimul rind pentru ca e de o boemie specifica lui amelie po
...more
Jacob Appel
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a brilliant, clever novel -- but not for the faint of imagination.

Vian's short novel teems with world play, spoonerisms, puns, backwards logic and verbal chaos, but at the same time manages to create an authentic and emotionally convincing world. The surreal magic of his story is the surreal magic of young love, captured perfectly through Colin's efforts to buy enough flowers to cure his beloved Chloe of the "waterlily on her lung." The novel is unsparing in its satire, including masterful
...more
Tosh
Jun 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who dare to dream
Shelves: books-bought
Part Two:

Out of curiosity and pleasure (of course) I read the two English language translations of Boris Vian's "L´ecume des jours that is now out on the market. "Mood Indigo" was translated in 1967 by Stanley Chapman, and my edition (TamTam Books) was translated about ten years ago. The Brian Harper translation is called "Foam of the Daze." The original Chapman edition was called "Froth on a Daydream." Both translated titles are good, and tricky, due to the poetic title that is "L'´ecume des jo
...more
David
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The ending scene of this extraordinary book is just as surreal as the 300 pages that precede it: the little mouse that has appeared throughout as a kind of murine Greek chorus of one decides to commit suicide by cat. It is a testament to the power of the novel that I, for one, cried at that ending.

I started the book with more than a little scepticism because -- well, surrealism --, but within 30 pages I was totally hooked.

I read it in French; there are, I believe, three translations in English.
...more
Vince Will Iam
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! One of the most original novels I ever read. With this book Boris Vian demonstrated the power of his sparkling, creative mind. His passion for Duke Ellington and jazz was reflected in his eclectic writing. He experimented with language using puns that make you laugh your head off, coined surreal technological devices and peppered all this with dark humor and satire. It is written in a refined, free-flowing style with dazzling descriptions and metaphors.

The young protagonists live in a
...more
Sparkle
Aug 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ughhh. I can't tell if the English translation of this is just awful or the whole concept of the book is awful. I'm not sure why I insisted on finishing this, but I did. It's a quick read about pretentious, rich youths who view the only value of women in their beauty, and filled with flawed metaphors and failed magical realism.

I would not recommend this to anyone, and I'm not sure why it had such good reviews. Waste of time.
Onur
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good reference from Paul Sartre regarding the existentialism. Colin seeks a love at the beginning of story than his love is against to him till end. His friend Chick is a Sartre fan and he has on girlfriend, called Alisa. And also, there are good references of books and events belongs to that period. (This point is most interesting issue of book) Book shows us author's good imaginations even perfect when considered he wrote this book 2 days. It is good book, recommended.
Sidharth Vardhan
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: list-le-monde
More like 3.5 stars. It has a kind of Disney reality in which animals, for example, talk to people and there is that somewhat infantile humor. The book begins in a kind of innocent world of some young people who haven't come across the suffering yet. The characters resist and are afraid of things that are for grown-ups - especially having to earn a living. The girls want to buy pretty things and boys want to be able to buy those things for them. As the suffering in its countless forms raises the ...more
Rhys
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-books
I first read this novel back in 1993. It was the first time I had read anything by Vian and immediately upon finishing it I knew it was the best novel I had ever read. I have often thought about in the two decades since then...

Recently I went to the far west of Ireland and in a little secondhand bookshop I found a copy of the novel in the same edition as the one I had originally borrowed from the library. So I bought it and began re-reading it. I was astonished at how much I had forgotten and ho
...more
Magdelanye
Quietly, gently, with dignity and respect, Boris Vian leads the astonished reader into an incongruent world, a surrealists dream where time and space have taken on more fluid dimensions. Manifestations, of painting and literature and poetry and stubborn dreams, stalk a Paris where the resistance to the Vichy regime is still going on.

A la Breton, BV shines a brilliant light on the most revered of our illusions: love, politics, and religion, and work, and the collection of things.

The've been tol
...more
Adam
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Master and Margarita
In a nutshell, L'Ecume Des Jours reads like an Edith Wharton novel set in Pepperland (sorry, non-cinephiles for the obscure reference). The book rewires your brain after the first 30 pages; if it doesn't, this book is not for you. Themes/motifs: class struggle, love, flowers, Sartre, mice, death and cocktails. My favorite image from the book is when the protagonist loses his fortune and takes a job at a weapons factory. You see, though, the rifle barrels are grown from seeds that must be warmed ...more
Gabrielle
This is a book I have been re-reading periodically for the past fifteen years. I had my mother’s battered old copy for the longest time, it got misplaced in a move and I had to get a shiny new copy immediately. Boris Vian wrote a beautiful, sexy, tragic love story – and he did it with the most enchanting, surrealist prose one can imagine without ever becoming nauseatingly adorable.

The imaginary Paris the characters live in doesn’t know gravity, clouds talk, sunrays can be plucked like guitar str
...more
Borum
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This novel started off as one of those dreamy paintings of Marc Chagall where the people seem to take wings and float up in the rainbow and marzipan-scented air just to land a kiss on the lover's cheek. But then, after the ominous shortcut through the copper mine, this turns into a grotesquely surreal painting reminiscent of Dali. It had its mildly sharp witted stabs at the capitalist society in the beginning but in the end it becomes as inhumane as a butcher's knife slicing everyone into a ...more
Fostergrants
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fostergrants by: Tosh Berman
imaginative, fanciful, unusual, lush, entertaining. unforgettable! i dog-eared some pages to go back and read again and i have ruined the book with too many ears.
Aravindakshan Narasimhan
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant on a sultry evening where the trees are protesting not to dance to the tune of nature, and birds do not show their face or call out. You have started your eating adventure with much hope, only to be shattered by the poor reception and ergonomical errors on the side of hotel management, weary faces of servers, unhindered cacophony and to top it all, a poor food. All makes it one nightmarish dining experience already accentuated by your boring day at work. S ...more
sara
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-reads
3.5 - but the rating will probably change in the future, because i have a feeling this book is going to stay with me for a very long time from now on

I don't remember the last time I read such a weird, intriguing and fucked up book. I don't know if I liked it or not, but the fact I went through it in ~3 hours must say something. I found the world super interesting, though I am not one for normally accepting sci-fi settings with no explanations. In the beginning, I was pretty neutral in relation t
...more
Chris
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel starts out innocently with light-hearted love to the tune of Duke Ellington. Then the blood starts to flow; people are crushed, mice commit suicide, houses collapse in mourning and decay, and the surrealism turns from romantic whimsy to absurd tragedy. References to Jazz music set the tone, which is the most absorbing aspect of the novel for me. Everything is about ambiance: there's no Bildungsroman character development, because the characters are just setting, just mood. Their metam ...more
Andrew
Hard to know where I stand on this bit of postwar exuberance. It is Frenchy as fuck, with all the accordion-toned whimsy of Jean-Pierre Jeunet in his jeunesse. I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed every weird image that Vian conjured up, and his whole catalog of impossible-to-translate Spoonerisms. But there was something about it that didn't cohere. I liked every paragraph, but it did feel at times like a more avant-garde version of an episode of Adventure Time.

Sidenote: At the end, Boris Vian mentions
...more
Marc
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Absurdist story of the great love between Colin and Chloé. Starting initially as story about very rich people, but everything around them degenerates, together with the water lily that grows in the lung of Chloé. It ends in a massacre. In other words: there's a very wry undertone, but occasionally funny, original finds and pointed dialogues. but not convincing at all.
Laurence R.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: school
Not sure about my rating yet... It's such a weird book that it needs to be deeply analysed to be judged.
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Goodreads Librari...: Japanese descriptions needed 5 56 Jan 06, 2014 07:46AM  
La Stamberga dei ...: La schiuma dei giorni di Boris Vian 1 9 Nov 09, 2013 01:42PM  

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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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