Camille Verhoeven, whose diminutive stature belies his fierce intensity, has reached an unusually content (for him) place in life. he is respected by his colleagues and he and his lovely wife, Irene, are expecting their first child.
But when a new murder case hits his desk--a double torture-homicide that's so extreme that even the most seasoned officers are horrified-Verhoeven is overcome with a sense of foreboding.
As links emerge between the bloody set-piece and at least one past unsolved murder, it becomes clear that a calculating serial killer is at work. The press has a field day, taking particular pleasure in putting Verhoeven under the media spotlight (and revealing uncomfortable details of his personal life).
Then Verhoeven makes a breakthrough discovery: the murders are modeled after the exploits of serial killers from classic works of crime fiction. The double murder was an exquisitely detailed replication of a scene from Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, and one of the linked cold cases was a faithful homage to James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia.
The media circus reaches a fever pitch when the modus operandi of the killer, dubbed "The Novelist," is revealed. Worse, the Novelist has taken to writing taunting letters to the police, emphasizing that he will stop leaving any clues behind unless Verhoeven remains on the case.
For reasons known only to the killer, the case has become personal. With more literature--inspired murders surfacing, Verhoeven enlists the help of an eccentric bookseller and a professor specializing in crime fiction to try to anticipate his adversary's next move. Then Irene is kidnapped.
With time running out, Verhoeven realizes that all along he's been the unwitting dupe in The Novelist's plans to create an original work of his own. Now, the only person in the world the commandant truly cares for is in danger, and a happy ending seems less and less likely as it becomes clear that the winner of this deadly game may be the man with the least to lose.
Two very intelligent, very idealistic young women leave the convent school where they became the fastest of friends to return to their families and embark on their new lives. For Ren e de Maucombe, this means an arranged marriage with a country gentleman of Provence, a fine if slightly dull man for whom she feels admiration but nothing more. Meanwhile, Louise de Chaulieu makes for her family's house in Paris, intent on enjoying her freedom to the fullest: glittering balls, the opera, and above all, she devoutly hopes, the torments and ecstasies of true love and passion. What will come of these very different lives?Despite Honor de Balzac's title, these aren't memoirs; rather, this is an epistolary novel. For some ten years, these two will--enthusiastically if not always faithfully--keep up their correspondence, obeying their vow to tell each other every tiny detail of their strange new lives, comparing their destinies, defending and sometimes bemoaning their choices, detailing the many changes, personal and social, that they undergo. As Balzac writes, "Ren e is reason...Louise is wildness...and both will lose." Balzac being Balzac, he seems to argue for the virtues of one of these lives over the other; but Balzac being Balzac, that argument remains profoundly ambiguous. "I would," he once wrote, "rather be killed by Louise than live a long life with Ren e."
A New York Review Books OriginalOne of Honor de Balzac's most celebrated tales, "The Unknown Masterpiece" is the story of a painter who, depending on one's perspective, is either an abject failure or a transcendental genius--or both. The story, which has served as an inspiration to artists as various as C zanne, Henry James, Picasso, and New Wave director Jacques Rivette, is, in critic Dore Ashton's words, a "fable of modern art." Published here in a new translation by poet Richard Howard, "The Unknown Masterpiece" appears, as Balzac intended, with "Gambara," a grotesque and tragic novella about a musician undone by his dreams.
Introduction by Adam Gopnik In this major new rendition by the acclaimed translator Julie Rose, Victor Hugo's Les Mis rables is revealed in its full, unabridged glory. A favorite of readers for nearly 150 years, this stirring tale of crime, punishment, justice, and redemption pulses with life. Featuring such unforgettable characters as the quintessential prisoner of conscience Jean Valjean, the relentless police detective Javert, and the tragic prostitute Fantine and her innocent daughter, Cosette, Hugo's epic novel sweeps readers from the French provinces to the back alleys of Paris, and from the battlefield of Waterloo to the bloody ramparts of Paris during the uprising of 1832. With an Introduction by Adam Gopnik, this Modern Library edition is an outstanding translation of a masterpiece that continues to astonish and entertain readers around the world.
Count d'Orgel is handsome, charming, and carefree, a model of cool aristocratic aplomb. His wife, the Countess, is beautiful and pure and loves her husband more than anything in the world. But from the moment the d'Orgels meet and befriend the clever young Fran ois de S ryeuse backstage at the circus, all three of these supremely civilized and witty people are caught up in an ever more intricate and seductive dance of deception and self-deception. At Count d'Orgel's masquerade ball, the real disguises are those of the human heart.Completed just before Raymond Radiguet's death at the age of twenty, Count d'Orgel's Ball is a love story that is as disturbing as it is delicious.
An NYRB Classics OriginalJean-Paul Cl bert was a boy from a respectable middle-class family who ran away from school, joined the French Resistance, and never looked back. Making his way to Paris at the end of World War II, Cl bert took to living on the streets, and in Paris Vagabond, a so-called "aleatory novel" assembled out of sketches he jotted down at the time, he tells what it was like. His "gallery of faces and cityscapes on the road to extinction" is an astonishing depiction of a world apart--a Paris, long since vanished, of the poor, the criminal, and the outcast--and a no less astonishing feat of literary improvisation: Its long looping breathless sentences, streetwise, profane, lyrical, incantatory, are an adventure in their own right. Praised on publication by the great novelist and poet Blaise Cendrars and embraced by the young Situationists as a kind of manual for living off the grid, Paris Vagabond--here published with the starkly striking photographs of Cl bert's friend Patrice Molinard--is a raw and celebratory evocation of the life of a city and the underside of life.