Popular as a cult novelist (Night People; The Sinaloa Story) and renowned for his association with filmmaker David Lynch, who directed the 1990 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Prize-winner made from his novel Wild at Heart, Gifford has long mined the realms of the bizarre. This collection of seven--mostly old and reworked--stories is published to coincide with a national book tour for Arcade's June release of his new novel, Wyoming (also soon to be a motion picture). The stories leapfrog from Europe to Africa to Cuba, expressing, however abstrusely, Gifford's Dantean take on life. The title offering is an anecdote about a chance encounter in a Parisian bar with an irrepressible female who, like the narrator, has had one martini too many. The piece ""New Mysteries of Paris"" is a kaleidoscopic parade of vignettes about a madcap--but hardly mad--woman named Nadja, who may or may not represent sanity. ""The Tunisian Notebook"" imagines a long-undiscovered journal by Swiss painter August Macke, which slyly disputes a published diary by fellow artist Paul Klee, recounting their 1914 pilgrimage to Tunisia. The best--and ironically the most conventional--narrative, ""A Fair Price,"" introduces an engaging family of Italian car-nappers. And in ""The Old Days,"" the wryly affecting final sketch, an octogenarian returns to Havana, the city where he sowed his youthful wild oats, to make a superficial peace with his own mortality. This understated tale stands as a fitting conclusion to Gifford's slim but poignant collection of quotidian absurdities. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2000 Release date: 01/01/2000 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.