cover image Big Blondes

Big Blondes

Jean Echenoz. New Press, $22 (201pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-340-0

Daydreaming about the perfect, long-legged blonde may consume more than a little of a man's time; however, trying to track down that blonde, one who has eluded each of her pursuer's steps, may become taxing, both mentally and financially. After serving a short prison sentence in the questionable death of her agent and lover, Gloria Stella, the knock-out blonde and former pop entertainer, chooses to live an anonymous life--free of reminders of the tragedy, and free of public appearances. Paul Salvador, impresario and producer of TV programs, hires private detectives to search for Gloria, with the hope of re-introducing her to the public as the perfect blonde. The first PI meets his death after unknowingly talking with Gloria--a death by a fall that is ironically similar to her agent's. Finally, when private investigator Personnettaz is put on the case, the noir-style detective follows the blonde and her alter ego, Beliard--a tiny brown-haired man who is always impeccably dressed and is always present during Gloria's violent outrages--throughout France, Australia and India. Echenoz (Double Jeopardy) picks out the absurd nuances of pop culture and twists them into a contemporary detective book. Cleverly written and quickly paced, Big Blondes is a hilarious read. Polizzotti's effective translation captures Echenoz's sense of the farcical. Is the incessant need to find that perfect blonde worth all the frustration? By the book's end, only the reader can judge. (June)