Confessions of Dan Yack

Blaise Cendrars, Author, Nina Rootes, Translator
Blaise Cendrars, Author, Nina Rootes, Translator Peter Owen Publishers $30 (120p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0766-6
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
This whimsical, bittersweet 1929 period piece continues the semi-autobiographical memoirs begun in the surrealist classic Dan Yack , named for the Swiss-born novelist/poet's British persona. Where the first work celebrated the travels, pranks and derring-do of the narrator and his male comrades, Confessions dwells with lyrical tenderness on women--Yack's mother, before her death, in a darkened room crowded with flowers and candles; his lovers; and, above all, his lovely child-wife Mireille (daughter of an ex-mistress), with whom he shares seven chaste years. Millionaire Yack creates movies for her, casting Mireille in the roles of the wraithlike heroines of Edgar Allen Poe. Then Mireille becomes a ghost of herself, succumbing to a mysterious and fatal illness. A layered narrative structure, built around ``transcribed'' cylinders containing Yack's dictation and readings from Mireille's notebooks, reinforces the vibrant thematic questioning of the relationship between art and life. (Sept.)
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