Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories

Boris Vian, Author, Julia Older, Editor, Louis Malle, Designed by University of Nebraska Press $30 (116p) ISBN 978-0-8032-4661-4
Ten avant-garde fables of serious whimsy, ushered in by Older's useful introduction, bibliography and discography, are culled here from Vian's rich output. During his brief life (1920-59) author and musician Vian wrote novels, plays, poetry, songs and libretti, contributed essays to Jazz Hot in Paris, and translated American works (by Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain) that shaped his own writing. Playful and tough, fresh and zany, Vian generally speaks from a moral stance. ``Pins and Needles'' treats the horrifying absurdity of war and the Allied rescue of 1944 with wacky grisliness. In ``The Plumber'' a fast-talking workman browbeats a tenant and wreaks chaos with needless repairs. The title of ``Good Students'' refers to young police cadets who study the rule book on how to control and brutalize an innocent populace. ``Blue Fairy Tale'' is a tale of betrayal during a motor jaunt, a format evoking the fictional popularity of the automobile in the period. The title story features an articulate, garrulous cat stuck in a sewer, while drinkers turn out of a nearby bar to save it. The collection displays Vian's range from gallows humor to verbal fireworks, and happily serves to give visibility to this important writer. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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