Double Jeopardy

Double Jeopardy

by Jean Echenoz, Mark Polizzotti
     
 

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"Double Jeopardy recounts the twin stories spanning two generations of two pairs of male buddies. . . . Transglobal gunrunning, insurrection in a Malaysian rubber plantation, storm-tossed stowaways, mutiny at high sea, armed bank robberies, cannibalism under the streets of Paris and, of course, the infinite complications of unrequited love—all drive the

Overview

"Double Jeopardy recounts the twin stories spanning two generations of two pairs of male buddies. . . . Transglobal gunrunning, insurrection in a Malaysian rubber plantation, storm-tossed stowaways, mutiny at high sea, armed bank robberies, cannibalism under the streets of Paris and, of course, the infinite complications of unrequited love—all drive the reader from page to page. Yet it is Echenoz's voice, the most distinctive French voice of his generation, that holds us under its spell with its legerdemain of witty turns of phrase, inspired metaphors, fresh pop culture allusions, and the wackiest cast of characters this side of a David Lynch movie."—Washington Post Book World.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The latest novel by Echenoz, who won France's Medici Prize for Cherokee , justifies the cliched description ``a roller-coaster ride,'' not just because of its wild velocity but also because it concentrates on the ride itself rather than on getting anywhere. Jean-Francois (``Jeff'') Pons and Charles Pontiac were once in love with Nicole Fischer. When she preferred a third man to either of them, Jeff went to Malaysia to manage a rubber plantation, while Charles became a protean Parisian vagrant. Thirty years later, Jeff needs weapons for a particularily frivolous labor dispute he has fomented. Returning to Paris, he enlists the aid not only of Nicole and Charles, but also of his nephew Paul and Paul's buddy, Bob, who occasionally smuggle small arms. To complete the generational parallel, both Paul and Bob are interested in Nicole's daughter Justine. Further confusing the plot are a Russian manservant, a used appliance/small weapons importer, Malay insurgents, mutinous sailors and an appealingly inept crew of Belgian toughs. Those willing to suspend demands for narrative cohesion will savor Echenoz's easy command of comedy based on rhythm, juxtaposition and, most of all, upending the reader's literary assumptions. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In this fast-moving tale, reminiscent of a detective novel, Echenoz crosses the boundaries of time and space as he introduces us to Charles and Jeff, who were in love with Nicole 30 years ago; Paul, Jeff's nephew, who falls for Justine, Nicole's daughter by a dead pilot; and Bob, Paul's friend. Bob and Paul unwittingly duplicate Charles and Jeff's past pursuit of Nicole, as they both try to win the love of her daughter. In the background, and setting the pace for the story, is the subplot of an arms-smuggling campaign to Malaysia, where Jeff manages a rubber plantation. The off-beat characters are delightful and well drawn, and their curious relationships will keep the reader entertained until the last page. The author is the winner of the Medici Prize for Cherokee (Godine, 1987) and the European Literature Prize for his best-selling Lac. -- Peggie Partello, Keene State Coll., N.H.
Deb Robertson
Echenoz's entertaining novel melds several interlocking stories. There is the story of Charles and Jean-Francois (aka Jeff, later renamed Duke), whose unrequited love for Nicole sends them to far-flung destinies--Charles to a Paris hobo's life, Duke to the management of a Malaysian plantation. Years later, Duke's nephew Paul and Paul's friend Bob unknowingly fall for Nicole's daughter, Justine, but their affections, too, remain unrequited. The four men ultimately come together to evade a Belgian gang of thugs in Paris, arrange a shipment of guns in a vain attempt to help Duke regain control of the plantation, and aid in putting down a shipboard mutiny en route to Malaysia. Back in Paris, they're faced with finding and freeing Justine, kidnapped by the outraged Belgians. With rollicking adventures, gangsters, doubly unrequited love, and exotic lands--overlaid with mutinies--Jean Echenoz has crafted an exceptionally appealing concoction, featuring cleverly improbable coincidences and connections between the situations and characters.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780879239169
Publisher:
Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/1993
Pages:
244
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.42(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author

Jean Echenoz is the author of four other novels: Le Méridien de Greenwich, Lac (winner of the European Literature Prize), and Nous trois. Cherokee is also available as a Bison Book. Mr. Echenoz lives in Paris. Mark Polizzotti, a veteran translator of André Breton and René Daumal as well as Jean Echenoz, is the author of Revolution of the Mind, forthcoming.

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