New Mysteries of Paris: Stories

Barry Gifford, Author Clark City Press $11.95 (82p) ISBN 978-0-944439-31-9
In the title story of this collection, a man recalls an affair with an unconventional woman (Andre Breton's Nadja) whose history remains veiled to her lover; she instructs him to ``invent'' it. In ``The Tunisian Notebook,'' Gifford does just that for the Swiss painter August Macke. Using as his source the diary of Macke's traveling companionno comma--there were 2 companions Paul Klee, Gifford sketches a diary for Macke. Those who have read Klee's diary will enjoy comparing the two. The pipe-smoking Klee believed that Macke found this habit ``irresistible.'' Gifford writes, ``Macke's unreasonable prejudice against Klee begins with his pipe.'' According to the author, Klee's attempt at literary style ``resulted in . . . certain incidents being exaggerated or manufactured. . . .'' Macke's diary is literature--fiction--but both versions are part artifice, part fact. Gifford raises intriguing questions here about the relationships between art, life and lies. The other two stories entertain: an artist recalls his many affairs in ``The Brief Confession of an Unrepentant Erotic''; a libidinous Egyptian king in ``The Yellow Palace'' is described from the perspective of his aide and ``procurer.'' Gifford ( Wild at Heart ) writes with compassion and wit about characters who travel off the beaten track. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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