The New York Times
Ravelby Jean Echenoz
Los últimos años de la vida de Maurice Ravel transcurren entre 1927 y 1937. Con una escritura a caballo entre el jazz y la narrativa cinematográfica, Echenoz despliega un retrato ficticio del compositor sembrado de verdades biográficas: son reales la epopeya en Verdún, las sesenta camisas y los veinticinco pijamas de la gira americana o los encuentros con Douglas Fairbanks, Charles Chaplin o George Gershwin. Pero lo esencial no está en la vida del hombre, sino en la sutil pero lacerante ironía con que es narrada esa vida. Aquí reencontramos los temas favoritos del escritor: la desaparición, el viaje y los conflictos de identidad que caracterizan a los protagonistas de sus novelas. Y el verdadero Ravel acaba siendo uno de los más espléndidos personajes del imaginario de Echenoz.
The New York Times
Prix Goncourt-winner Echenoz's fifth novel to be translated into English covers the last 10 years in the life of French composer Maurice Ravel, who in 1927 was 52 years old and at the height of his fame when he toured America. Echenoz is most keen on recording the human detail: Ravel's impeccable ablutions and wardrobe, his dainty size, his reading of Joseph Conrad's The Arrow of Goldand his triumphant tour across the United States. Upon his return and at the request of a friend, Ravel offhandedly composed his masterpiece, Boléro. However, lapses begin to intrude in his memory and eventually debilitate him. After harrowing brain surgery, Ravel died in 1937. Like his well-mannered subject, Echenoz's prose is stylish and delightfully soft-pedaled, expertly conveyed by Coverdaleleaving the sensation of a life lived exclusively for the creation of art. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Echenoz, winner of France's prestigious Prix Goncourt (for I'm Gone), recounts here the later years in the life of the great French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Told as simply as a fairy tale and beautifully translated by Coverdale, the story opens with Ravel struggling to get out of his bathtub without "bumping [his] crotch or risking a nasty fall." The accumulation of ordinary details like this emerges into a lifelike depiction of the composer as he makes his first journey to the New World and tours the United States by train. Along the way, we learn his habits, get to know his friends, and come to appreciate the author's insights into this almost inscrutable man who produced music of ravishing beauty without seeming to have any significant human connections. So what's fiction here? The choice and arrangement of facts that produce a stunning psychological portrait that is vastly larger than the sum of its many little parts. To be enjoyed by all literate readers.
“A beautifully musical little novel.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Echenoz’s prose is stylish and delightfully soft-pedaled
leaving the sensation of a life lived exclusively for the creation of art.”
“Every word is perfectly placed; the writing is fluid
like a garment that fits beautifully even inside-out.”
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Meet the Author
Jean Echenoz won France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt for I’m Gone (The New Press). He is the author of five previous novels in English translation and the winner of numerous literary prizes. Linda Coverdale is a past winner of the Scott Moncrieff Prize, a French-American Foundation Translation Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Award. She has translated almost fifty books, many of them for the New Press.
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