AUTUMN IN PEKING (L'Automne à Pékin)
Novel/Fiction By Boris Vian - Translated from French by Paul Knobloch
Introduction by Marc Lapprand
Boris Vian was a jack of all trades - he was a songwriter, playwright, singer, jazz critic, pataphysician and novelist, among other things. Vian's 1947 novel Autumn in Peking (L'Automne à Pékin) is perhaps his most slapstick work - which included an extra amount of despair in its exotic recipe for a violent cocktail.
The story takes place in the imaginary desert called Exopotamie where all the leading characters take part in the building of a train station with tracks that go nowhere. Houses and buildings are destroyed to build this unnecessary structure.
Exopotamie is a thinly disguised version of Paris, where after the war the city started changing its previous centuries of architecture into something more modern. Yes, something dull to take the place of what was once exciting and mysterious.
Vian, in a mixture of great humor and a huge amount of disgust, introduces various 'eccentric' characters in this 'desert' adventure, all of them in a world similar to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, where there is a tinge of darkness and anything is possible, except happiness.
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