Book Reviews of New Mysteries of Paris

New Mysteries of Paris
New Mysteries of Paris
Author: Barry Gifford
ISBN-13: 9780944439319
ISBN-10: 0944439314
Publication Date: 6/1/1991
Pages: 96
Edition: 1st ed
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Publisher: Clark City Press
Book Type: Paperback
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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.