Bird in a cage by Frédéric Dard
French Noir fiction
Original title – Le Monte-charge
Translator – David Bellos
Source – Library book
This is my third choice for Pushkin press fortnight and the first from the Vertigo range I have read , which is a collection of Crime and Noir novels from around the world . This one really caught my eye after Jacqui’s review . Now Frederic Dard is another like his fellow French language writer Simeon that had written an amazing number of books over 240 , a large number of those are from the series San-Antoine , a french detective whose name he choose by pointing a figure on the map of american and choose the nearest place to his finger he wrote 170 books in that series. Pushkin is translation a number of his books into English.
The place was like a fairy grotto piled high with glittering treasures. Christmas tree decorations were stacked on the shelves : glass birds, paper Father Christmases, baskets of fruit made of painted cotton and all those dainty balls as fragile as soap bubbles that help make a tree in a fairy tale.
I was next to be served.There were people waiting behind me
“What can I get you”
I pointed to a silver cardboard birdcage sprinkled with glitter-dust. inside it an exotic bird mak=de of blue and yellow velvet stood on a golden perch
The birdcage but also a dream like feel to the shop .
This is one of Dard’s novel of the night series , a series rather like the Roman Durs of Simeon that look at the darker side of human nature. The novel set in the build up to \Christmas and follows Albert a man return to his home patch , his mother has died and it is christmas eve and he is back home in his childhood home for the first time in a long time to bury his mother . He goes to the local area to remind himself of the past , he buys a little silver birdcage that some how reminds him of an image from the past . He then goes for a meal in a local bar and he’s meets a mysterious women who is their with her daughter, but is this woman all she seems how invites him to her apartment . But is she all she seems and is she leading him into the darkness. and maybe into a trap
She was leaning on me heavily.I could feel her womanly warmth spreading through my body. A troubling desire for her had been nagging me ever since we started walking side by side , with our hips brushing each other.
Ar one point i felt a shiver go through her.
“Are you cold ?”
“Do you want to go into a bar ?”
“i don’t want to see anybody ”
Albert’s woman as they leave the bar is it a shiver of cold or something else !!
I was remind somewhat of works of David lynch with this where you are never quite sure if you are in a real world or a dream world there is a sense this is maybe Albert’s nightmare world . Did he get to his mothers and fall asleep and all the has followed is a dream. What is the mean of a birdcage , is he cage by his past , of is he now like a wild bird caught in a cage to be an attraction for some else . I kept half expecting a dwarf or a giant to appear like in a Lynch piece . Dard use the bare bones to guide you through the story rather like Simeon his great friend there is a sense of the darkness with in the human soul . Another writer I was reminded of is Magnus Mills a writer that use the labyrinth of time and being drawn into situations so well in his books I was remind how easily his characters fall into a world they don’t know . I still shocked Dard hasn’t capture the English reader before if this is an example of his novel of the night series of books I will be visiting the other Pushkin have been publishing as this is a classic dark evening read one of those books you can sit and read in a sitting no problem . Have you a favourite from the Pushkin Vertigo range ?