Foam of the Daze
Foam of the Daze
L'Ecume Des Jours
Tamtam Books, Paperback, 9780966234633, 261pp.
Publication Date: March 31, 2012
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Raymond Queneau called it the "most poignant love story of our time," and Julio Cortazar said of its author: "I can't think of another writer who can move me as surreptitiously as Vian does." Boris Vian (1920-1959) was a songwriter, trumpet-player, poet, playwright and pataphysician, but is best remembered for his 1947 novel, "Foam of the Daze," a jazz-fueled science-fiction romance that mingles bittersweet and surrealist absurdity with a melancholic meditation on the frailty of life. It tells the tale of Colin, a wealthy young dandy, and Chloe, his newly wedded wife who develops a terrible illness: a water lily in her lung. The supporting cast includes Chick, an obsessive collector of Jean-Sol Partre memorabilia; Colin's libertine manservant Nicolas, a Jeeves for the jazz-age; the philosopher Jean-Sol Partre himself, Vian's rib-poking tribute to his friend Jean-Paul Sartre and the pianocktail: a cocktail-mixing piano whose individual notes are tuned to liqueurs that mix incredible cocktails. Michel Gondry's film adaptation of the novel, to star Audrey Tautou, will begin production in 2012.
About the Author
Boris Vian was a novelist ("Mood Indigo"), poet, jazz trumpeter, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor, and engineer. He was the emblematic figure of the postwar Paris cultural milieu: friend to Camus, de Beauvoir, and Sartre (until Sartre seduced his wife); the Parisian champion of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis; the inspiration for and mentor to Serge Gainsbourg; the French translator of Raymond Chandler. Vian, who had suffered a pulmonary edema in 1956, died of cardiac arrest in 1959, at age thirty-nine, during a screening of a Hollywood adaptation of one of his novels, outraged at the American interpretation of his novel, set in America, where he had never been. His last words were reportedly: These guys are supposed to be American? My ass!