By Tony Duvert
Translated by S. C. Delaney and Agns Potier, with an introduction, by S. C. Delaney

District describes, in ten vignettes, the sad, sordid, and sinister aspects to a section of an unnamed French city, and the manners in which the ghost-like human entities that inhabit, live, and wither within it are molded, moved, and absorbed into by its spaces. A noisy metro station, old tenements, buildings going up, along with the fixtures of French communal life: the open-air market, the public garden; the little shops and bars, the lively town square—the ugly and mundane, the coarse and unmentionable sit side by side with the occasionally burgeoning beauty. With a sense of voyeuristic tension and queasy complicity, the reader is taken on an outcast’s tour of city life—from construction site to metro, from bar to brothel—an analysis of communal living in the past tense from the perspective of the absolute exile. One of Duvert’s last books, it is also one of his shortest: an unexpected return to the roving, fractured eye of the Nouveau Roman that had informed his earliest work.

Tony Duvert (1945–2008) earned a reputation as the “enfant terrible” of the generation of French authors known for defining the postwar Nouveau Roman. Expelled from school at the age of 12 for homosexuality (and then put through a psychoanalytic cure for his condition), Duvert declared war on family life and societal norms through a controversial series of novels and essays (whose frequent controversial depictions of child sexuality and pedophilia often lead his publisher to sell his works by subscription only). He won the Prix Medicis in 1973 for his novel Strange Landscape. His reputation faded in the 1980s, however, and he withdrew from society. He died in isolation in July 2008 in the commune of Thor-la-Rochette in central France.

September 2017
4.5 x 7, 48 pp.
$12.95 US