Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories

Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories

by Boris Vian, Julia Older, Louis Malle

See All Formats & Editions

Editorial Reviews

"Ultimately, Blues for a Black Cat is a collection of moral fables, albeit fables told in a cynical, mocking voice and set in a skewed version of the real world. Under the surface absurdity and verbal play, they offer serious indictments of human weakness and pretensions. Further, they reveal the spiritual emptiness just beneath our civilized façade. Vian's blues are not only for a black cat, but for a society without meaning."—Manoa
Boston Globe
"[Blues for a Black Cat] brings back the nimble Vian in a collection of his short fiction, initially published as Les Fourmis in 1949. The work has the unmistakable flavor of the time and place, Claude Abadie's jazz band, the coded and absurdist messages of rebellion, the wistful fables, verbal riffs and goofy anarchic encounters; the mise-en-scene includes an expiring jazzman who sells his sweat, a cat with a British accent and a piano that mixes a cocktail when "Mood Indigo" is played."—Boston Globe
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ten avant-garde fables of serious whimsy, ushered in by Older's useful introduction, bibliography and discography, are culled here from Vian's rich output. During his brief life (1920-59) author and musician Vian wrote novels, plays, poetry, songs and libretti, contributed essays to Jazz Hot in Paris, and translated American works (by Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain) that shaped his own writing. Playful and tough, fresh and zany, Vian generally speaks from a moral stance. ``Pins and Needles'' treats the horrifying absurdity of war and the Allied rescue of 1944 with wacky grisliness. In ``The Plumber'' a fast-talking workman browbeats a tenant and wreaks chaos with needless repairs. The title of ``Good Students'' refers to young police cadets who study the rule book on how to control and brutalize an innocent populace. ``Blue Fairy Tale'' is a tale of betrayal during a motor jaunt, a format evoking the fictional popularity of the automobile in the period. The title story features an articulate, garrulous cat stuck in a sewer, while drinkers turn out of a nearby bar to save it. The collection displays Vian's range from gallows humor to verbal fireworks, and happily serves to give visibility to this important writer. (July)

Product Details

UNP - Bison Books
Publication date:
French Modernist Library Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Boris Vian (1920–59), a trained engineer and jazz trumpet player, was a major literary figure in World War II France. Julia Older is the author or editor of many works. Her stories, translations, and poems have appeared in New Directions, the New Yorker, and many other journals.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews