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Nicholas Spice, 15 March 1984

The Fetishist, and Other Stories 
by Michel Tournier, translated by Barbara Wright.
Collins, 220 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 00 221440 7
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My Aunt Christina, and Other Stories 
by J.I.M. Stewart.
Gollancz, 207 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 575 03256 1
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Mr Bedford and the Muses 
by Gail Godwin.
Heinemann, 229 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 434 29751 8
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Alexandra Freed 
by Lisa Zeidner.
Cape, 288 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 224 02158 3
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The Coffin Tree 
by Wendy Law-Yone.
Cape, 195 pp., £8.50, January 1984, 0 224 02963 0
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... small consolation). Prickly, the infant protagonist of the sixth story in this collection of 14 by Michel Tournier, would agree. Maleness repels, femaleness attracts him. Papa is grizzled, tobacco-smelling, stiff and, above all, stubbly: rebarbative, in fact. Mama – soft, creamy, sweet-scented, supple Mama – summarises all things nice. Much else in ...

Idris the Ingénu

Galen Strawson, 21 January 1988

The Golden Droplet 
by Michel Tournier, translated by Barbara Wright.
Collins, 198 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 00 223139 5
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... strong in many Islamic cultures. The power of the image. This looks like a subject worthy of Michel Tournier the philosopher novelist, the delicate idea-cruncher, the prestidigitator of the hypercathected concept. It looks like something that deserves to be run carefully through his romanesque (or novel-producing) analytical machine. And it provides ...

The Only Way

Sam Kinchin-Smith: Culinary Mansplaining, 4 January 2018

... of history’s ‘higher cribbers’: Borges, Montaigne, Stevenson, Eliot, Mann and Harold Bloom; Michel Tournier and Alain Robbe-Grillet; pretend pretenders to the throne, Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel; Napoleon’s chef Dunand; and ‘the genitally preoccupied Roman epigrammatist Martial’. I found some of the recipes in The Plagiarist in the ...


Alan Hollinghurst, 19 November 1981

by Michel Tournier, translated by Anne Carter.
Collins, 452 pp., £8.95, September 1981, 0 00 221448 2
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The Death of Men 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 249 pp., £6.50, October 1981, 0 370 30339 3
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Tar Baby 
by Toni Morrison.
Chatto, 309 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7011 2596 9
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... Michel Tournier’s Gemini was published in France six years ago under the title of Les Météores, but it arrives in this country, in Anne Carter’s convincing and sometimes virtuosic translation, with none of the trumpeting which announced his earlier triumphs, Friday and The Erl King. All his publishers have managed to come up with is an ambiguous commendation from Genet: ‘An exceptional, incomparable novel ...

Last Words

John Bayley, 7 January 1988

The Collected Stories of Angus Wilson 
Secker, 414 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 436 57612 0Show More
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... is an early type of the conte cruel, a genre which developed in France as a special art-form: Michel Tournier still practises it today. The effect of these tales is quite different from that of ‘Mary Postgate’ because there is no personal animus involved – they do but poison in jest. The fantasy may be there, but there is no violence behind ...

Dun and Gum

Nicholas Jose: Murray Bail, 16 July 1998

by Murray Bail.
Harvill, 264 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 1 86046 494 7
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... it on his return from Europe in 1948. White – the only antipodean to join Proust and Kafka, Michel Tournier and Thomas Bernhard on Bail’s shelf of severe masters – is the big daddy rabbit-killer; Bail and his minimalist contemporaries are something of a mopping-up operation. The anxiety here is that of being the last guest at the wake of ...


Jeremy Treglown, 6 August 1992

Writers on World War Two: An Anthology 
edited by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 752 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3912 9
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Legacies and Ambiguities: Post-war Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan 
edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer.
Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins, 323 pp., $35, February 1992, 0 943875 30 7
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... how they saw their own surroundings, and how their children would see them. In his autobiography, Michel Tournier has written about how peculiar it seems to someone who lived through the war to read accounts of it by those who didn’t. But of course for the children of Vichy France there has been more than Graham Swift’s romantic curiosity at stake in ...

Peas in a Matchbox

Jonathan Rée: ‘Being and Nothingness’, 18 April 2019

Being and Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenology and Ontology 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, translated by Sarah Richmond.
Routledge, 848 pp., £45, June 2019, 978 0 415 52911 2
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... the freedom that underlies the existence of others and letting it come into its own.Back in Paris, Michel Tournier and his fellow students at the Sorbonne had much the same experience: One day in the autumn of 1943, a new book appeared to us like a meteor: Sartre’s L’Etre et le Néant. There was momentary astonishment, followed by prolonged ...

Au revoir et merci

Christopher Tayler: Romain Gary, 6 December 2018

The Roots of Heaven 
by Romain Gary, translated by Jonathan Griffin.
Godine, 434 pp., $18.95, November 2018, 978 1 56792 626 2
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Promise at Dawn 
by Romain Gary, translated by John Markham Beach.
Penguin, 314 pp., £9.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 34763 8
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... at Gary’s un-French origins by censuring his verb conjugations, and the avant-garde preferred Michel Butor. But the book sold well – like a lot of Gary’s output it’s said never to have been out of print in France – and Gary did a good job of using the press attention to lodge his public persona in the national consciousness. As a celebrity Gary ...

Desire Was Everywhere

Adam Shatz, 16 December 2010

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: Intersecting Lives 
by François Dosse, translated by Deborah Glassman.
Columbia, 651 pp., £26, August 2010, 978 0 231 14560 2
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... deported, and murdered en route to Auschwitz. According to Deleuze’s friend the novelist Michel Tournier, Deleuze’s parents ‘created a veritable cult around Georges’, for which Gilles never forgave them. A sickly, asthmatic boy, he grew his nails long because of a skin disease which left his fingertips painful to the touch, and he wore a ...

Nothing he hasn’t done, nowhere he hasn’t been

Adam Shatz: Claude Lanzmann, 5 April 2012

The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir 
by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne.
Atlantic, 528 pp., £25, March 2012, 978 1 84887 360 5
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... leap in their careers.’ He had a brief, stormy marriage to the actress Judith Magne, and was Michel Piccoli’s best man at his marriage to Juliette Gréco. He knew how to woo his subjects off and on the page. ‘You are the only one who talked about me as I would have wished,’ the novelist Albert Cohen told him. It was a charmed life, particularly ...

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