A Life on Paper (Hardcover)
Small Beer Press, 9781931520621, 231pp.
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
* Individual store prices may vary.
The celebrated career of Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud is well known to readers of French literature. This comprehensive collection--the first to be translated into English--introduces a distinct and dynamic voice to the Anglophone world. In many ways, Chateaureynaud is France's own Kurt Vonnegut, and his stories are as familiar as they are fantastic.
A Life on Paper presents characters who struggle to communicate across the boundaries of the living and the dead, the past and the present, the real and the more-than-real. A young husband struggles with self-doubt and an ungainly set of angel wings in "Icarus Saved from the Skies," even as his wife encourages him to embrace his transformation. In the title story, a father's obsession with his daughter leads him to keep her life captured in 93,284 unchanging photographs. While Chateaureynaud's stories examine the diffidence and cruelty we are sometimes capable of, they also highlight the humanity in the strangest of us and our deep appreciation for the mysterious.
Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud is the author of eight novels and almost one hundred short stories, and he is a recipient of the prestigious Prix Renaudot and the Bourse Goncourt de la nouvelle. His work has been translated into twelve languages.
Edward Gauvin has published Chateaureynaud's work in AGNI Online, Conjunctions, Words Without Borders, The Cafe Irreal, and The Brooklyn Rail. The recipient of a residency from the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, he translates graphic novels for Tokyopop, First Second Books, and Archaia Studios Press.
About the Author
Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud is the author of nine novels, two young adult novels, and over one hundred short stories. Despite a lifelong fear of flying, he has been to Peru--his only time on a plane--and lived to pen a travel memoir about the experience. He is the recipient of the prestigious Prix Renaudot, Prix Goncourt de la nouvelle (for short stories), Prix Giono, Prix Valery Larbaud, and the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire. His work has been translated into fourteen languages. Born in Paris in 1947, Chateaureynaud was a solitary child who became a voracious and unprejudiced reader, ingesting Treasure Island as avidly as Lady Chatterley's Lover. He studied English at the Sorbonne, discovering Stevenson, Shelley, Stoker, and Wells, and later took a degree in library science from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Bibliotheques. In 1968, he embarked on a series of odd jobs--including antiques dealer and auto assembly line laborer--that comprised, in his words, an "apprenticeship in human nature," cementing his sympathy for the marginal, outcast figures who would become his luckless, well-meaning, Everyman heroes and narrators. Grasset published his first collection in 1973, Le fou dans la chaloupe. With novelist Hubert Haddad, and fellow Goncourt winners Frederic Tristan and sinologist Jean Levi, Chateaureynaud is a founding member of the contemporary movement La Nouvelle Fiction: "New" because it rose up against the prevailingly minimalist and confessional tendencies (autofiction) of recent French writing, seeking to rouse it from what critic Jean-Luc Moreau called "the slumber of psychological realism," and to restore myth, fable, and fairy tale to a place of primacy in fiction. In 1983 and 1990, Chateaureynaud was a representative of the Foreign Services Ministry to Quebec and then to Greece. He has been consistently involved with the Centre National du Livre and the SGDL (Societe des Gens de Lettres de France). He plays an active part in fostering new talent, serving on the juries of such diverse prizes as the Fondation BNP-Paribas Young Writers Award, the international Prix Promethee de la nouvelle, the Prix Renaudot, and the Prix Renaissance. Chateaureynaud sees his enthusiastic participation in these institutions as a way of repaying the literary community that has allowed him the luxury of dedication to his craft. An Officier des Arts et Lettres of France, he is currently the editorial director of foreign literature at Editions Dumerchez. In 2006, he was made a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. Edward Gauvin has published Chateaureynaud's work in AGNI Online, The Southern Review, Conjunctions, Harvard Review, Words Without Borders, LCRW, Postscripts, Epiphany, The Cafe Irreal, Eleven Eleven, Sentence, and The Brooklyn Rail. A graduate of the Iowa Workshop, he has received a Fulbright grant as well as fellowships from the Centre National du Livre, the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) and the Clarion Foundation and residencies from the Maison des Ecritures Midi-Pyrenees, Ledig House, and the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Other translations of his have been featured or are forthcoming in PEN America, Tin House, Interfictions 2, Subtropics, Silk Road, Two Lines, and Absinthe. A consulting editor for graphic literature at Words Without Borders, he translates comics for Archaia, First Second, and Tokyopop. He has lived in Austin, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New York, Taipei, and Amiens, France.
Praise For A Life on Paper…
As weird as they are elegant, as delicious as they are unsettling, these fables place Châteaureynaud in the secret brotherhood that has only exemplars, no definition: Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Nathanael West, Aimee Bender. We are lucky indeed to have them, in a very skilled translation.”
John Crowley (Little, Big)
These 22 curious tales verging on the perverse will strike new English readers of Châteaureynaud’s work as a wonderful find. Beautiful prose featuring ingenuous protagonists and clever, unexpected forays into horror are the hallmarks of these mischievous stories.”