Autumn in Peking

Autumn in Peking

( French - L'Automne a Pekin - 1947 )

novel by Boris Vian

translated by Paul Knobloch

Published: TamTam Books - paperback - 2006
ISBN: 0966234642 / 9780966234640

Perhaps Vian's most slapstick work, with an added amount of despair in its exotic recipe for a violent cocktail drink. 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 - and in Vian's world waste not, make not. Vian, in a mixture of great humor and unequal amount of disgust, introduces various 'eccentric' characters in this 'desert' adventure, such as Anne and Angel who are best friends; and Rochelle who is in love and sleeps with Anne, while Angel is madly in love with her. Besides the trio there is also Doctor Mangemanche; the archeologist Athanagore Porphyroginite, his aide, Cuivre; and Pipo - all of them in a locality similar to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, where there is a tinge of darkness and anything is possible, except for happiness.


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