Ingrid Caven (Paperback)
City Lights Books, 9780872864276, 244pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2004
A novel about the life of German cabaret singer and film actress Ingrid Caven, who was once director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's star, and his wife, muse to Yves Saint Laurent, and a protege of Pierre Berge. Consisting of memories, mixing real and invented people and events, Ingrid Caven reveals the cold heart of the European counterculture of the 1970s, an era of celebrity glitz, cocaine-fueled excess, gay bathhouses, and young idealists-turned-terrorists. Ingrid Caven was an immediate bestseller in France, where it sold over 235,000 copies in its first year of publication. It has been translated into 18 languages.
"Adolf Hitler, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Yves Saint Laurent - German-born cabaret singer Ingrid Caven's life flowed around these icons of 20th century European counterculture.... a collage of that strange postwar period in Europe of high artifice, drugs, terrorism, leather jackets and cinema." --Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The novel... could be read as an intimate, literary dialogue between France and Germany. (Caven is German and Schuhl is French and Jewish.) That such a dialogue can be embodied in a single female character as seen through the eyes of her lover is a testament to Schuhl's originality and narrative imagination." --Speakeasy
." . . a semifictional 2000 Prix Goncourt winner about the vagaries of 1970s European counterculture. . . . Schuhl's staccato yet contemplative prose (transl from the French by Michael Pye) illuminates celebrity excesses against a decadent and violent world backdrop." --Publishers Weekly
" Ingrid Caven in]. . . her many metamorphoses: a bohemian Madame Bovary, a redheaded noir vamp, an aristocrat in a boa, a singing sleepwalker." --Frederic Bonnaud, Les Inrockuptibles
"Magnificent and violent, strange and disquieting. Provocative and harshly moving." --Josyane Savigneau, Le Monde Livres
Jean-Jacques Schuhl is a Parisian dandy who lives with Ingrid Caven and who had not published a book for twenty years until this one.