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The Prone Gunman
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The Prone Gunman

by Jean-Patrick Manchette, James Brook (Translator)
 

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Also available in a new, movie tie-in edition, titled The Gunman (Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87286-664-5. Ebook ISBN: 9780872866652). Film opened March 20, 2015 starring Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba and Ray Winstone, directed by Pierre Morel (Taken).

Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game — so he can settle

Overview

Also available in a new, movie tie-in edition, titled The Gunman (Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87286-664-5. Ebook ISBN: 9780872866652). Film opened March 20, 2015 starring Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba and Ray Winstone, directed by Pierre Morel (Taken).

Martin Terrier is a hired killer who wants out of the game — so he can settle down and marry his childhood sweetheart. After all, that's why he took up this profession! But "the company" won't let him go: they have other plans. Once again, the gunman must assume the prone firing position. A tour de force, this violent tale shatters as many illusions about life and politics as it does bodies. Jean-Patrick Manchette subjects his characters and the reader alike to a fierce exercise in style. This tightly plotted, corrosive parody of "the success story" is widely considered to be Manchette's masterpiece, and was named a New York Times "Notable Book" in 2002. The Prone Gunman is a classic of modern noir.

"For Manchette and the generation of writers who followed him, the crime novel is no mere entertainment, but a means to strip bare the failures of society, ripping through veils of appearance, deceit, and manipulation to the greed and violence that are the society's true engines."—Boston Globe

"There's not a superfluous word or overdone effect . . . one of the last cool, compact and shockingly original crime novels Manchette left as his legacy to modern noir fiction."—New York Times

"For the first time readers can experience in English translation the masterful thriller considered Manchette's finest, proof positive that the French knew what they were talking about when they labeled this sort of novel 'noir'." —Publishers Weekly

"This superbly muscular translation of the late French mystery writer Jean-Patrick Manchette's most celebrated work, The Prone Gunman, is the third volume issued [by] City Lights Noir. The series may prove to be the most needed contribution to contemporary fiction by any publisher in a good long while." —The San Francisco Chronicle

Jean-Patrick Manchette was a French crime novelist credited with reinventing and reinvigorating the genre. He wrote ten short novels in the 1970s and early 80s, and is widely recognized as the foremost French crime fiction author of that time. His stories are violent, existentialist explorations of the human condition and French society. Jazz saxophonist and screenwriter, Manchette was also a left-wing activist influenced as much by the writings of the Situationist International as by Dashiell Hammett. Jean-Patrick Manchette's other work, 3 to Kill is also published by City Lights Publishers.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is lean, mean noir fiction that cleverly sends up the tough guy genre while incarnating it perfectly."—Detroit Free Press

"Jean-Patrick Manchette's terse prose moves like the swift, almost automatic methods and mannerisms of his protagonist."—The Wall Street Journal

"Terse behaviorist prose . . . drives the narrative relentlessly and even gleefully forward. . . . For the first time, readers can experience in English translation the masterful thriller considered Manchette's finest, proof positive that the French knew what they were talking about when they labeled this sort of novel 'noir'."—Publishers Weekly

"Manchette is a master of both economy and irony. Brutal and bracing: Terrier's tale fascinates even as it chills."—Kirkus Reviews

Washington Post Book World
The Prone Gunman is an unrelentingly grim story that proves impossible to put down. . . . the author (who died in 1995) is seen as the savior of modern French noir for good reason: The Prone Gunman pulls you along with a lurid power that can't be resisted, fueled by a plot that could go absolutely anywhere -- and does.
Boston Globe
In France, which long ago embraced American crime fiction, thrillers are referred to "polars." And in France the godfather and wizard of polars is Jean-Patrick Manchette....For Manchette and his generation of writers who followed him, the crime novel is no mere entertainment, but a means to strip bare the failures of society, ripping through veils of appearance, deceit, and manipulation to the greed and violence that are the society's true engines.
San Francisco Chronicle
This superbly muscular translation of the late French mystery writer Jean-Patrick Manchette's most celebrated work, The Prone Gunman, is the third volume issued under the City Lights imprint, City Lights Noir. The series may prove to be the most needed contribution to contemporary fiction by any publisher in a good long while.
Wall Street Journal
Jean-Patrick Manchette, the French novelist who died in 1995, is no stereotypical thriller writer. His world is external, all action and scheduling, like some off-kilter ŒMission: Impossible¹ episode. English-language fans of thrillers should be grateful to have more of him.
New York Times Book Review
There's not a superfluous word or overdone effect in The Prone Gunman, one of the last cool, compact and shockingly original crime novels Manchette left as his legacy to modern noir fiction.
Village Voice
Manchette describes his characters with the same wealth of external detail, icily delivered, that he uses for apartment decor or a hi-fi system.
Detroit Free Press
This is lean, mean noir fiction that cleverly sends up the tough guy genre while incarnating it perfectly.
Publishers Weekly
For the first time readers can experience in English translation the masterful thriller considered Manchette's finest, proof positive that the French knew what they were talking about when they labeled this sort of novel 'noir'.
Kirkus Reviews
The second English translation of the late Manchette (Three To Kill, p. 146). In Liverpool, cool hitman Martin Terrier (known to his bosses as Christian) needs extra effort to take out nervous target Marshal Dubofsky, who flees at the sight of him. A mod redhead passerby in black plastic boots further complicates the job. Terrier dispatches both with close range shots. It's the first time he's killed a witness, but no matter. On this tenth anniversary, he's resolved to quit the life. He plans to return to his native France and retire with Anne, the girlfriend of his adolescence. (They made a promise to each other a decade ago and have since communicated irregularly, by letter.) Terrier's decision meets with resistance from every quarter. Lover Alexa throws a tantrum and trashes his apartment. He leaves both her and faithful tomcat Sudan behind when he goes home. Cox, the man who pays him on behalf of "The Company," tries unsuccessfully to engage Terrier for one more job with the lure of an astronomical fee. Anne is married, albeit indifferently. She's intrigued by Terrier's sudden reappearance in her life, but skeptical. Is killer Terrier just an old-fashioned romantic? Another threat comes from the overwrought Rossana Rossi, sister of one of Terrier's victims and bent on revenge. Somebody sends Terrier a sealed aquarium, full of water and the gutted body of his tomcat Sudan. And Cox undertakes a campaign of more palpable persuasion. The tables have definitely turned. Manchette (1942-95) is a master of both economy and irony. Brutal and bracing: Terrier's tale fascinates even as it chills.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780872864023
Publisher:
City Lights Books
Publication date:
06/01/2002
Series:
City Lights Noir Series
Pages:
180
Sales rank:
664,314
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.30(d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Patrick Manchette (December 19, 1942, Marseille – June 3, 1995, Paris) was a French crime novelist credited with reinventing and reinvigorating the genre. He wrote ten short novels in the 1970s and early 80s, and is widely recognized as the foremost French crime fiction author of that time. His stories are violent, existentialist explorations of the human condition and French society. Jazz saxophonist and screenwriter, Manchette was also a left-wing activist influenced as much by the writings of the Situationist International as by Dashiell Hammett.

Four of his novels have been translated into English. Two were published by City Lights Books: Three To Kill and The Prone Gunman, which is also available in a movie-tie in edition titled, The Gunman.

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