Jacques Jouet, Author, Amber Shields, Translator
Jacques Jouet, Author, Amber Shields, Translator , trans. from the French by Amber Shields. Dalkey Archive $12.95 (85p) ISBN 978-1-56478-535-0
Reviewed on: 04/27/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009

Fashion, art, philosophy and anthropology converge in Jouet's (Mountain R ) slim, semibiographical novella based on the life of postimpressionist artist Paul Gauguin, grafting the facts of the famed painter's life onto a new Paul Gauguin, a clothing designer. Paul, a young man “still in a formative state,” recounts his trials and failures at several careers before stumbling into experimental fashion design after a happenstance meeting with a curious old woman named Madame Taillefeu-Ponçard, who sparks his creativity and trains his artist's eye. After being abandoned by his wife and inspired by his lover, Ananwana, Paul travels to a series of French colonies to explore the limits of fashion, art and the human experience. While the novella offers a series of interesting points of discussion, the book's sparse, dutiful re-creation of an increasingly mentally ill narrator prevents the reader from fully engaging with the story. This novella feels mostly like an unfinished literary experiment. (June)

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