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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,977 ratings  ·  264 reviews
Un psychiatre souffre d'un tel vide existentiel qu'il cherche désespérément quelqu'un à psychanalyser afin de procéder à une identification totale ; une mère névrosée ne pardonne pas à son mari les douleurs de l'enfantement ; un prêtre adepte du spectaculaire prône que la religion restera à jamais un luxe... Voilà un coin de campagne où les uns et les autres présentent de ...more
104 pages
Published September 19th 2012 by Delcourt (first published January 1953)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,977 ratings  ·  264 reviews

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MJ Nicholls
The final novel from Boris Vian—sort of a Queneau for Coltrane enthusiasts—is a bleak and harrowing tale of a mother who loves her children too much.

Well, that’s the rub. There’s also the David Lynch village, unnamed, where unfeeling psychiatrist Timortis wanders into the Old Folks Fair, where OAPs are sold to the highest bidder. He meets the Glory Hallelujah—a man paid in gold to absolve the village’s shame by fishing corpses and fish heads from the local river with his teeth, leaving the resi
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the international panty snatcher
Recommended to Mariel by: alligator tears
Boris Vian apparently died while attending the premiere of the film version of I Spit on Your Grave. The story goes that the cause of death, rather the cause of the cause of death, which was a heart attack, was 'cause the film wasn't any good. I don't know about anyone else but if I had my expectations so lowered I might say to myself, "Well, it wasn't that bad." Maybe my not dying would raise the expectations of another goodreader and then they would die. "It won't kill me! I already left my br ...more
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, favourites
An absolutely wicked and delicious concoction of magic realism crenulated with a Daliesque purpose of the grotesque: a collage of taboo, Levitic-ean prototype, a coronet of (greek) mythological misdirection and a nexus of all encompassing neuroses are shaken, and stirred, into an ironic indictment of petty foibles.

What, what? Well, hear ye. Timortis, a ‘psychoanalyzator’ is born (again) into an anonymous French village where he is witness to a parade of grotesque daily exhibits.

Each one an exqu
Why, oh why did I let you sit on my shelf so long, little Heartsnatcher?

At first Vian seems like he's just goofing off. He's writing a novel as one tries on a costume and prances around in it. Behold my costume, don't I look fine in it? (Wink.) Aren't you fooled? (Nudge.) Let's see a novel has, what? Characters. No problem. Here's a new mother with a gun under her pillow. And here's a vicar who could've been in the Sex Pistols, if there were such a band as the Sex Pistols when I wrote this. And
Dec 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
People sometimes say they love you, but then you discover that what they really mean is that they want something from you. Just about every woman I know has met the guy who says he loves her, but actually wants sex. I guess that's the example you think of first. But there are plenty more.

I saw the movie of Coraline yesterday, and it reminded me of this book. Coraline has her real mother, who loves her, but is very bad at showing it. And then she also has her Other Mother, who wants... well, if y
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
So, there are enough reviews already out there dealing with plot and themes and all that jazz, so I will simply say I dug it, daddio.

However, what I did not expect was the Wakean wordplay (which leaped out at me due to my current FW reading), and the quality of the translation which achieved that rare ability of seeming as though it was an original text. What do I mean? Well, howzabout this:

"Sections of the Babylonian garden hung far over the cliff, and certain species of plants clung to the
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, french
Don't trust Boris Vian, folks. Don't ever trust this bastard. You'd pay dearly for your naivety. ...more
Nate D
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Empty psychiatrists in search of a case study
Recommended to Nate D by: knig
Here's a somewhat bizarre and unexpected emergence from the early 50s -- not exactly surrealism, not the oulipo despite Queneau's forward, perhaps more of a presage of the kinds of wild and unclassifiable oddities that would emerge in greater force in the late 60s and 70s (which Vian didn't live to see, sadly). Someone else pointed to Vian's jazz background in their review (MJ? Jonathan? Knig? Either way, they've all written excellent reviews), and it makes sense: in the beginning theirs a sense ...more
"We find that things that don't interest us very much are beautiful above all others because they allow us to see what we want to see in place of them. Perhaps I shouldn't put it in the first person plural." (212)

This book has the dubious honor of joining the elite "completed-during-childbirth-hospital-stay" shelf started two years ago when my eldest was born. It will be forever nestled safely in my mind between The Brothers Karamazov and the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. I know, I've revealed
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Heartsnatcher" was Boris Vian's last novel and it has a sadness attached to it. Here Vian goes after the "family unit" with great hysterical results. And again it's his genius to match the moods into a crazy narrative. Vian is like a great bartender, who knows how to mix if not the perfect drink, then at the very least a cocktail that you will never forget. ...more
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is horrible! Between the horse crucifixion, nailing horseshoes to small children, selling old people to the market, exploiting kids to do horrible jobs until their death, everything is full of a terrible sadness. And the Jesus-like boat-man that takes over all the sins and shameful acts of the villagers is just too much to swallow! The over-protective mother that ends up by locking her children in cages, after cutting them all degrees of freedom. The book can be read in so many ways th ...more
This is the madcap story of Clementine, the very overprotective mother of Joel, Noel and Alfa Romeo, three boys whose simultaneous birth cause her such anguishing pain that their father is exiled. The story is both hilarious and horrifying, and is told from the point of view of Timortis, a psychoanalyst who just happens to be passing Clementine’s home on the day of the boys’ birth and jumps in to deliver them.

Clementine becomes increasingly obsessed with keeping the boys safe, and pages are dev
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I think it's better not to try and explain this novel at all...all I'll say is that it seems to be dealing with the concept of guilt, but mostly what one will remember is the Old Folks' Fair (auction of old people for buyers' personal abuse), Glory Hallelujah who takes upon himself all of the shame of the villagers in exchange for gold that he is not permitted to spend, blue slugs that make you fly, and psychoanalysis equalling doggy-style sex.

very funny. very weird. Even Vian's life is
Sultan Can Boz
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novelly
A great book and a great translation into Turkish.
Erin Johnson
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is truly one of the best books that I have ever read. It isn't an easy read yet somehow, you find yourself enjoying it. I'm not sure how anyone could classify this book into a certain genre. At times, I feel as though it's a mystery novel, maybe a comedy or even a romance. Its strange how Vian can portray so many different genres into one book. On the other hand, be prepared to think deeply as you read this one. ...more
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. It is surreal, interesting, and I always find something new that I neglected the previous times I've read it. I think I've finished it three times now. It was one of my favorite Dalkey books I read while I worked there. Also, I designed the cover (though, not one of my best ones in my opinion). ...more
The deliciously bizarre world of hitchhiking animals, crucified horses, and psychoanalyzed cats. To say nothing of the kids.
Stephen Douglas Rowland
Amusing as a shocking diversion but never really satisfying.
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Stephen by: nobody
In "Heartsnatcher," Boris Vian put the Western world on the couch for an examination and decided the best solution was to hide from it.

Like many writers, Vian had no particular claim to the title of social psychoanalyst other than the frequent contemplation of his navel, which he found time to do in between stints as an actor, jazz trumpeter, engineer and mechanic.

This French scribe, of little import beyond his native nation's borders, was part of a post-World War II Parisian ebullience spring
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the sound of the word shame Timortis took a step back—and then felt ashamed of himself for having done so.

‘I’ve got a home,’ said the man who, having noticed Timortis’s movement, gave a sour little smile. ‘I get my food. And they give me gold. Loads of it. But I haven’t got the right to spend it. Nobody wants to—and nobody will—sell me anything. I’ve got a house and I’ve got loads of gold—but I have to swallow the shame of the whole village for them. They pay me to feel their remorse for them
Kenaia Neumann
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boris Vian has this unique ability to create bizarre and entirely unrealistic worlds that somehow make total sense while reading, almost like a dream (think of Leos Carax's film "Holy Motors"). He makes up words by blending old things, like his usage in this book of months called "Octoptember" and "Novembruary". He talks about a type of bird called a sphinxwing. In the town in which this story takes place, there is a point at which the local builders are called upon to build a wall of nothing. T ...more
Gabby Gray
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I'm not sure how to feel about this book. The magical realism was well done, as were the characters. They were very well-developed and interesting. They felt like real people placed in a strange, strange world.

This book, though, didn't really have much of a plot. It was an enjoyable read, yes, but it lacked suspense and, at points, coherency. The book sometimes made no sense at all and was difficult to follow, but that can be expected from magical realism.

At times, the writing simply made me l
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is surely one of the strangest, maybe THE strangest book I've read this year. Imagine some fantasy prose, like the one of Michael Ende, mixed with surrealist prose and raw naturalism - and you'll get this insane novel. It is, I suppose, allegory for parenthood, growing up, and society's flaws and corruption in general. But, what's really suprising is the amount of disgusting, gut wrenching descriptions of ugliness and grotesque sights in this surrealist fantasy plot, presented along with ma ...more
Rachel Kowal
3.4 stars

Some memorable sequences here, but due more to their perversity or absurdity than something more redeeming. The things that came out of this man's mind: the strange town where all the residents' shame gets absorbed by a man (Glory Hallelujah) dressed in rags who fishes junk and dead things out of the river with his teeth, blue slugs make you fly, and love is truly suffocating. Better for the parts than the whole. But the vicar's sermon... I did quite enjoy that.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Their names are going to be Noel, Joel, and Alfa Romeo. It's all settled.'

'I don't think much of Noel and Joel,' said Angel. 'You could have chosen Sam, Ham, and Honeylamb--or even Spam. Or Sabena, Subpoena, and Ribena. Or even Ronnie, Johnny, and Dubonnet.'

I only wish I knew french so I could read Vian's wordplay in his native tongue.
Adriano Godinho
wow! what a mind blowing book! This book was borrowed by a friend of mine, I didn't knew the author and now I know: what a shame! This book might be the best/craziest book I've read for the last years! (besides James Joyce's Ulysses, but doesn't count). Belongs in a special collection from Estampa's Editions, called "B books". I'll check out other author from this collection. ...more
Another World Literature book. Hullot-Kentor was into surrealism. Reading this novel is like finishing L. Frank Baum's entire collection, eating a bowl of chili, and then going to sleep for 13 hours - it's bound to cause weird dreams. ...more
Iva S.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, reread
When I read Heartsnatcher for the first time about eight months ago, I immediately knew it was going to become one of my favourite books. Now, after rereading it, I know it is my one favourite book among my favourite books.
Mayra Tobalina perrier-gustin
I'm quite fond of this one because it was my first Boris Vian. I didn't understand some of the things in it but I really liked some of the characters and the blunt descripton of ther actions.
If you despise scatological writing, don't read it! :)
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a psychoanalyst arrives in town in time to deliver triplets for a woman who becomes so protective of the children that they learn to fly. a husband departs on a boat journey.
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Jean-David Morvan is a French comic author, best known as the creator of the Sillage/Wake series.

After studying arts at the Institut Saint-Luc in Brussels, he first tried being a graphic artist, but eventually settled for writing instead.

His main series are 'Spirou and Fantasio', 'Sir Pyle' and 'Merlin', all with José Luis Munuera, and 'Sillage', with Philippe Buchet.

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Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
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“On ne reste pas parce qu'on aime certaines personnes; on s'en va parce qu'on en déteste d'autres. Il n'y a que le moche qui vous fasse agir. On est lâches.” 27 likes
“Je suis vide. Je n'ai que gestes, réflexes, habitudes. Je veux me remplir. C'est pourquoi je psychanalyse les gens...Je n'assimile pas. Je leur prends leurs pensées, leurs complexes, leurs hésitations et rien ne m'en reste. Je n'assimile pas; ou j'assimile trop bien..., c'est la même chose. Bien sure, je conserve des mots, des contenants, des étiquettes; je connais les termes sous lesquels on range les passions, les émotions, mais je ne les éprouve pas.” 19 likes
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