"A wonderful find. Beautiful prose featuring ingenuous protagonists and clever, unexpected forays into horror are the hallmarks of these mischievous stories." ---Publishers Weekly
"As weird as they are elegant, as delicious as they are unsettling, these fables place Chateaureynaud in the secret brotherhood that has only exemplars, no definition: Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Nathanael West, Aimee Bender. We are lucky indeed to have them, in a very skilled translation." ---John Crowley (author of Little, Big)
"In the lineage of Poe and Kafka." --- Times Literary Supplement
"The themes of dream and reality . . . the ironies of fate, and the knowledge of one's mortality are singularly presented in a quasi-surrealist mode. Chateaureynaud's use of language, not to mention his startling, often bizarre images and metaphors, embellishes the otherwise mundane, realistic world he represents. The result is the creation of an intriguing, surrealistic hybrid of tales, noteworthy for their originality as well as for the psychological territories they invite us to explore." ---Donald J. Dziekowicz, World literature Today
"He leads us... with his sinuous, silken sentences, his precise choice of words, ever evocative, charged with emotion and sensation, humor and surprise." ---Serge Cabrol, Encres Vagabondes
"Magical because it leads us astray while pretending to show us the way. It bows to the best in literature: lies." ---Joel Schmidt, Reforme
"In Chateaureynaud, the most potent emotional and poetic moments, the cruelest of his tales, spring from the rift that opens between the unutterable and a language, scrupulously executed in a faultless style, whose raison d'etre is to leave nothing unsaid. Words are ideally ordered, brought gracefully and gently to a high level of functioning perfection and, although at their acme, are forced to admit their defeat, to scatter before the world's impenetrability, the shifting depths of uncertainty, the worm in the rotten fruit of the future. Every story by Chateaureynaud is an opening through which the light peers only to underscore the immensity of shadow."---Pierre Lepape, Le Monde
"He unfolds a fantastical universe that is never terrifying or oppressing---the situations in his stories might very easily cause the worst anxieties, and yet some touch neither comical nor parodical always comes to alleviate the atmosphere. What is taking shape here is indeed difficult to pinpoint: not humor, but of another order, more subtle, a kind of gladness popping up here and there, a lightness that keeps things from sinking into blackness . . . Each of these tales is a perfect incarnation of the short story in its purest form." ---Isabelle Roche, Le Litteraire
Welcome to a momentous occasion: the introduction of celebrated French author Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud to readers of English.
Chateaureynaud published his first stories while working as an unskilled worker in a car factory and is now widely celebrated by readers of French literature. This comprehensive collection introduces his distinct and dynamic voice to the Anglophone world.
In many ways, Chateaureynaud is France's own Kurt Vonnegut. He has the same willingness to cross genres, the same gently wry view on life, his stories are as familiar as they are fantastic. A Life on Paper presents characters who want to communicate across the boundaries of the living and the dead, the past and the present, the real and the more-than-real. A young husband struggles with self-doubt and an ungainly set of angel wings in "Icarus Saved from the Skies" even as his wife encourages him to embrace his transformation. A man carries a head. Another finds the perfect house only to realize that it is more than he bargained for. A taxi driver finds and loses his way to "Sweet Street." In the title story, a father's obsession with his daughter leads him to keep her life captured in 93,284 unchanging photographs.
While Chateaureynaud's stories examine the diffidence and cruelty we are sometimes capable of, they also highlight the humanity in the strangest of us and our deep appreciation for the mysterious.
"As weird as they are elegant, as delicious as they are unsettling, these fables place Chateaureynaud in the secret brotherhood that has only exemplars, no definition: Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Nathanael West, Aimee Bender. We are lucky indeed to have them, in a very skilled translation." --John Crowley (Little, Big) "These 22 curious tales verging on the perverse will strike new English readers of Chateaureynaud's work as a wonderful find. Beautiful prose featuring ingenuous protagonists and clever, unexpected forays into horror are the hallmarks of these mischievous stories." --Publishers Weekly