Monday, May 23, 2016

#25: The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette

A super-cool killer tries to get out of the game, but naturally nothing goes as planned in Jean-Patrick Manchette's existential crime novel The Prone Gunman.

In my readings of international fiction I have often seen Manchette name-checked alongside the works of people I really enjoy, like Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Claude Izzo, and Sebastien Japrisot, so when I saw a paperback of The Prone Gunman in a little English-language used bookstore in Rome I snapped it up.

Manchette definitely tries for a Jean-Paul Belmondo/Alain Delon kind of cool in his protagonist, but infuses the story with the ambience of Camus' The Stranger.  It is at the same time a crackling spy novel as well as a deconstruction of the genre. 

Overall highly rewarding for those readers interested in this style and time period.  I consumed this very quickly over a night or two in Rome.

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