By the early 1970s, Romain Gary had established himself as one of France's most popular and prolific novelists, journalists, and memoirists. Feeling that he had been typecast as 'Romain Gary', however, he wrote his next novel under the pseudonym Emile Ajar. His second novel written as Ajar, Life Before Us , was an instant runaway success, winning the Prix Goncourt and becoming the best-selling French novel of the twentieth century. The Prix Goncourt made people all the keener to identify the real Emile Ajar, and stressed by the furore he had created, Gary fled to Geneva. There, Pseudo, a hoax confession and one of the most alarmingly effective mystifications in all literature, was written at high speed. Writing under double cover, Gary simulated schizophrenia and paranoid delusions while pretending to be Paul Pawlovitch confessing to being Emile Ajar - the author of books Gary himself had written. In Pseudo , brilliantly translated by David Bellos as Hocus Bogus , the struggle to assert and deny authorship is part of a wider protest against suffering and universal hypocrisy. Playing with novelistic categories and authorial voice, this work is a powerful testimony to the power of language - to express, to amuse, to deceive, and ultimately to speak difficult personal truths.
Full Product DetailsAuthor: Romain Gary , David Bellos , David Bellos (Princeton University)
Publisher: Yale University Press
Imprint: Yale University Press
ISBN 10: 030018154
Publication Date: 03 July 2012
Audience: General/trade , General
Publisher's Status: Active
Availability: Temporarily unavailable
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... Bellos's very free translation, the novel is pun packed, exhaustingly energetic and a lot of fun. (Josh Lacey, The Guardian)
The literary hoax named 'Emile Ajar, ' successfully perpetrated by Romain Gary in the 1970s, was a scandal--less for the element of deception, perhaps, than for that extraordinary, humiliating success. In the first English translation of Ajar''s most demented book, David Bellos has produced a text with all the wild, grating, fingernail against chalkboard squeal of the original. Hocus Bogus gets on your nerves, demands that you fling it against the wall in anger and contempt--and if you do it has won the match, defeated you, and will stride off the court in triumph. --Esther Allen, City University of New York<br>--Esther Allen
Romain Gary (1914-1980), a French novelist, film director, World War II aviator and diplomat, was the author of more than thirty novels, essays, and recollections. David Bellos is professor of French and comparative literature and director of the Programme in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University.
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