"One day unlike the others, he'll run into a husband worse than the others, he'll run into trouble. I often thought this. Well, I was wrong, it was a woman he ran into, a woman worse than the others, here's what happened." What happened is the shocking tale told deftly by the brilliant French minimalist Christian Gailly in "Red Haze." It is a ...Read More"One day unlike the others, he'll run into a husband worse than the others, he'll run into trouble. I often thought this. Well, I was wrong, it was a woman he ran into, a woman worse than the others, here's what happened." What happened is the shocking tale told deftly by the brilliant French minimalist Christian Gailly in "Red Haze." It is a story at once spare and mysteriously complex, complicated by the ever odder perspective of the narrator as the details accumulate. Lucien, the narrator's friend, is a rake, a womanizer who womanizes once too often and loses his offending member to his latest conquest. As the narrator's interest in the mutilated man and the vengeful woman grows into an obsession, "Red Haze" becomes an unsettling story of how closely intertwined love and hatred, passion and cruelty can be. Winner of the prestigious Prix France Culture, "Red Haze" is the third of Christian Gailly's ten novels to be published in English. The first, "The Passion of Martin Fissel-Brandt," is also published by the University of Nebraska Press.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2005-07-18 After invoking Nabokov in an epigraph, Gailly (The Passion of Martin Fissel-Brandt) introduces a thoroughly unsympathetic, Humbert-like narrator in this clever little novel about obsession and envy. Recently cured stutterer and unemployed biologist Sylvere Fonda commiserates with Lucien ("not my friend, just an experiment in hatred"), a Lovelace-like figure who has had his penis bitten off by Rebecca Lodge moments after he raped and threatened to kill her. Too diminished and depressed to do anything himself, Lucien convinces Sylv?re to travel to Denmark, find Rebecca and speak with her on his behalf; Sylvere does go, but out of curiosity and spite. Once there, however, Sylvere finds himself falling in love with the utterly unavailable Rebecca, a self-assured widow of a handsome naval officer. The third of Gailly's 10 novels to be published in English, this mordant book won France's Prix France Culture. It shares Nabokov's love of doubling, sly clues and base emotions and motivations, but doesn't quite manage his delicious despicability; even after a final, deadly confrontation with Lucien, Sylvere remains a bundle of repetitive affects and affectations rather than a full-blown character. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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