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Group Reads > March 2016 - Fatale

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message 1: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 828 comments Mod
This month is our French Connection read - Jean-Patrick Manchette's Fatale, which follows the dark and twisted adventures of a female con artist.

Manchette, who died in 1995, wrote ten crime novels during the seventies and early eighties, only four of which have been translated into English.
From Wiki: His stories are violent, existentialist explorations of the human condition and French society. Manchette was politically to the left and his writing reflects this through his analysis of social positions and culture.

This one looks like quite a thrill ride. As one Amazon reviewer stated, the book is recommended for jaded readers with a sense of humor.

I believe that describes many of our members.

Enjoy!


message 2: by Frank (last edited Mar 01, 2016 04:45AM) (new)

Frank Thirdeyed | 88 comments Seems like something fun that I can definitely read in 1 sitting. I'll squeeze it in after I've finished Glue.


message 3: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 828 comments Mod
I broke my New Year's resolution to buy fewer books and sent for a copy of this one. It's too intriguing to resist.


message 4: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 539 comments Mod
I already have it and probably will read it on a lazy weekend soon.
Looking forward to compare Manchette with his American counterparts.


message 5: by Tim (new)

Tim (timi2u) | 27 comments Since I'm new to the group here, I'll get involved by reading this one, ordered it & putting on "to read" list.


message 6: by Katie (new)

Katie | 1 comments I had never heard of this book before now but it's definitely piqued my interest. I don't think I'll be able to read in during March as I'm busy reading other books but I've added it to my tbr.


message 7: by Melki, Femme Fatale (last edited Mar 03, 2016 08:15AM) (new)

Melki | 828 comments Mod
Kick-ass anti-heroines seem to be very popular.


message 8: by Jay (new)

Jay Gertzman | 262 comments The title seems a comment on the"femme Fatale" and all the noir implications of that phrase. _Fatale_ has a strange point of view. The narrator is a bit wide-eyed, innocent, making his/her observations more interesting and unlike traditional narrators of crime stories, first or third person. That makes the final sentence, in caps, something one has to think about--even one who thinks s/he has read a novel that is is any way a conventional noir, or even neo-noir. I thought of an allusion to a character like Kathie in _Out of the Past_, or the heroine of the book Jean Echenoz mentions in his afterword, _Black Wings Has My Angel_.


message 9: by Lawyer (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) I have finished my read of Fatale. An astounding bit of Noir. Deceptively short, the book contains much and is a tour de force of black humor, wry political commentary, and a constantly changing game of cat and mouse. Some may disagree, but this was a five star work for me.The Prone Gunman

Manchette had translated many crime books for Serie Noire. However that publisher rejected Fatale, thinking it crossed too far across political boundaries.

Manchette's original title was La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Appropriate, but he changed the title to the one we know. Two more titles in Manchette's works have been highly acclaimed: The Prone Gunman which has been made a film starring Sean Penn, and Three to Kill. I will be adding both.

This one is a lean mean little gem. I call it perfect.


message 10: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 539 comments Mod
I have started the book on the plane going home, and I will probably finish it later tonight. Great choice - did I detect a small influence of "The Bride Wore Black" ? a story of revenge by a woman who has been mistreated?

Don't tell me yet, I want to reach the last page of the novel first.


message 11: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Glasser | 58 comments I'm about mid-way through. The writing style has a very direct yet meandering style that 1960s French movies have. I like it. It is easy to read and I can picture the situations vividly even though the author doesn't bog us down with visual details.


message 12: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 539 comments Mod
I finished a couple of days ago.
Reading the novel I sometimes felt like the author had, after writig the first draft, went over the text with scissors and cut out all the extraneous material, leaving us with the bare bones of the plot and characters, no padding whatsoever.
It worked very well for me.


message 13: by Frank (new)

Frank Thirdeyed | 88 comments Started and finished it today. It was an easy, enjoyable read. Started out a bit slow, especially for such a little story.It picked up soon enough and didn't stop till it was over. Lots of black humour too. Not great, just good, but it was certainly different...


message 14: by David (new)

David Siddall | 4 comments Just started reading. About a quarter way in. very enjoyable and right up my street.


message 15: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 828 comments Mod
My copy came in the mail yesterday - so thin I thought maybe they'd sent me a children's book by mistake. Looks like a good one day read.


message 16: by Franky (new)

Franky | 395 comments Will read it a bit later in the month. Reading the comments though.


message 17: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 828 comments Mod
Am I alone in thinking that Baron Jules is a great character?


message 18: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 539 comments Mod
He is a bit theatrical, but great fun to have around a party!


message 19: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 828 comments Mod
He had me at the (view spoiler)


message 20: by Tom (new)

Tom Steer | 36 comments I finished this last night, I ended up really enjoying this novel. For me, the pacing was a case of the end justifying the means. (view spoiler)

I would certainly read Manchette again, his tone here is a perfect blend of noir and existentialism-like Sartre rewriting Hammett. It's another reason I am glad to have joined this group and to have the chance to explore works like this.


message 21: by Frank (last edited Mar 14, 2016 09:24AM) (new)

Frank Thirdeyed | 88 comments Was she? I didn't see it that way. Hmm, must've missed it. Thought (view spoiler)


message 22: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 539 comments Mod
There was some ambiguity about the ending for me too, but the consensus seems to be that Aimee (view spoiler)


message 23: by Tom (new)

Tom Steer | 36 comments (view spoiler) But I admit it is very open to interpretation, and I enjoy ambiguous endings that the reader can draw their own conclusions from.


message 24: by Bran (last edited Mar 19, 2016 07:42AM) (new)

Bran Gustafson (brangustafson) | 20 comments Finished it last night. I'd actually read it several years back but I didn't remember a lot of what happened as was very happy to read it again. I like what Tom said, "like Sartre rewriting Hammette."

I did take it that she (view spoiler)

From my Goodreads review:

"This shotgun blast of a noir novel hits hard and was over fast, and I enjoyed every second of it. It's my favorite type of story--the kind with no good guys, just characters that are varying levels of bad.

It basically takes the classic femme fatale character from noir fiction (the one who double crosses the protagonist and leads to his downfall) and makes her the protagonist."

Here's the rest of the review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 25: by Ralph (new)

Ralph Loder | 34 comments Enjoyed this book very much. I thought it read longer than 91 pages. I don't understand (view spoiler)

I looked for this book in a used book store. They had another of Manchette's books-I don't remember which one. After reading "Fatale," I'm going back to get it.


message 26: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new)

Melki | 828 comments Mod
Ralph wrote: "Enjoyed this book very much. I thought it read longer than 91 pages. I don't understand [spoilers removed]..."

I was hoping for more scenes between Aimee and Baron Jules. There was definitely some chemistry there. (view spoiler) Like you said, Ralph, (view spoiler)


message 27: by David (new)

David Siddall | 4 comments Finished. Very much enjoyed it. Thanks for introducing me to Manchette, an author I confess, not to have known. Just bought The Gunman, for Kindle.


message 28: by Franky (new)

Franky | 395 comments I guess I'll be the contrarian viewpoint and say that I started this book and am almost halfway through (at a brief 90 pages) and am really underwhelmed. Maybe it's a translation issue, but really can't understand the motives of anything (other than Aimee going after money), and the characters are underdeveloped, IMO.


message 29: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Glasser | 58 comments I felt that the ending was abrupt and seemed like a violent ending for such little set up. I still enjoyed it though.


message 30: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (last edited Mar 28, 2016 11:05AM) (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 539 comments Mod
I think I would like to see a movie version of this novel, the slow build-up and the intense action at the end would probably work well on screen. I wonder which French actress would be the best choice for Aimee?


message 31: by Tom (new)

Tom Steer | 36 comments Beatrice Dalle late 80's (just after Betty Blue) would have rocked that part. I think she would have had the sultry menace to pull it off.

Incidentally, I'm halfway through "The Gunman" and enjoying that even more--that story catches fire from the word go.


message 32: by Tom (new)

Tom Steer | 36 comments Beatrice Dalle late 80's (just after Betty Blue) would have rocked that part. I think she would have had the sultry menace to pull it off.

Incidentally, I'm halfway through "The Gunman" and enjoying that even more--that story catches fire from the word go.


message 33: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 539 comments Mod
Gunman is on my list also, including a comic book version by Tardi


message 34: by Franky (new)

Franky | 395 comments Finished it a few days ago, and wanted to wait a bit before commenting.

Yeah, pretty disappointed overall. Seems like the author is so infatuated with the female assassin, Aimee, that he leaves out the details and depth of the plot. Things seems all over the place and so random too, especially the ending which was over the top, and the many other characters were flimsy stereotyped victims, and the "kill the rich" seemed a bit contrived and false.

The set up of the novel sounded interested enough, though, but it just didn't work for me.


message 35: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) Franky wrote: "Finished it a few days ago, and wanted to wait a bit before commenting.

Yeah, pretty disappointed overall. Seems like the author is so infatuated with the female assassin, Aimee, that he leaves o..."


I feel similarly when i read the book a while ago, i enjoyed the lean prose, the pov, the mood but the victims, the depth of the plot, the ending was not as good as expected.

I cant even remember the plot now.....


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