Just Added to My TBR Pile


I could not resist the temptation and has just added to my TBR pile Bird in a Cage by Frédéric Dard (Pushkin Press, 2016) Translated from the French by David Bellos.

Bird-in-a-Cage-cover Pushkin Press publicity page reads:

Bird in a Cage, a deadly tale of deceit set in ’60’s Paris, and our first title from master of French noir Frédéric Dard, is out now. Heralded as the new Georges Simenon, we thought it was about time you got to know Dard a little better….

Frédéric Dard was one of France’s most prolific and popular post-war writers. He wrote, at least, an astonishing 284 thrillers over his career, selling more than 200 million copies in France alone. The actual number of titles Frédéric Dard authored is under dispute, due to the many aliases he wrote under, some officially acknowledged (such as the wonderful Cornel Milk) others not (Severino Standeley, for example).

Dard was greatly influenced by the great Georges Simenon. The two entered into a correspondence when Dard was just 16 years old. A mutual respect developed between the two, and eventually Simenon agreed to let Dard adapt one of his books for the stage in 1953.

Dard’s most famous creation was San-Antonio, a James Bond-esque French secret agent, whose enormously popular adventures appeared under the San-Antonio pen name between 1949 and 2001.

One of the most dramatic episodes in Dard’s life came in 1983, when his daughter was kidnapped and held prisoner for 55 hours before being ransomed back to him for two million francs. He admitted afterwards that the experience traumatised him for ever, but he nonetheless used it as material for one of his later novels. This was typical of Dard who drew heavily on his own life to fuel his extraordinary output of three-to-five novels every year. In fact, when contemplating his own death, Dard said his one regret was that he would not be able to write about it.

I’ve heard about it first at The Economist article Frédéric Dard, a master of French Noir by Boyd Tonkin, here.

Bird in a Cage by Frédéric Dard  review at The Complete Review, here.

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