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Novels in Three Lines by Félix Fénéon
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Novels in Three Lines

by Félix Fénéon

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Showing 5 of 5
I wish I could write sentences like this. He makes it seem so easy, boiling it all down to the essentials. ( )
  helynrob | Aug 13, 2013 |
A collection of short little articles chronicling the absurd and comic and tragic events of 1904 France. The brevity and soul of a Maupassant, the journalist realism of Zola, in the length of a Tweet. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Fénéon was a brilliant French intellectual, an anarchist activist, a writer of considerable talent but no reputation to speak of, and a promoter of French painters, writers, and liberal thinkers. In 1906, Fénéon was employed by the French daily Le Matin. During that year, he wrote 1,220 fait-divers—"sundry events," short news items that occupied a very few newspaper columns. Fénéon's fait-divers were uniquely and cleverly written, coming to be known as "novels in three lines." This collection of all but 154 of his fait-divers is pure fun and a bit of literary genius. ( )
  bookcrazed | Jan 4, 2013 |
As the title says, all of human life is there. Faits divers from Le Matin, for instance, one taken at random from p. 32 "At the station in Macon, Mouroux had his legs severed by an engine. `Look at my feet on the tracks!' he cried, then fainted. ( )
  jon1lambert | Nov 9, 2008 |
Digesting an entire story and reproducing it in three lines is an art form. To have had it your daily paper was a privilege denied to all of us. Feneon could make the most mundane news item into a fascinating gem. He could communicate angles with extraordinarily efficient use of words. He was the Al Hirschfeld of news. Like Hirschfeld, Feneon's news items are tinged with humor:

Brandy he thought. Actually it was carbolic acid.
Thus Philibert Faroux, of Noroy, Oise, outlived
his spree by a mere two hours.

If you read this book while imagining the nationwide roundup page in USA Today, you will mourn the death of creativity. Journalism today is so dry and careful, so politically correct, as to be completely disposable and avoidable. Try this item, one of series describing the ongoing battle to get crucifixes out of classrooms in 1906:

Two mayors in the Somme were determined
to restore to classroom walls the image
of divine torture. The prefect suspended
those mayors.

And let me leave you with one last gem that could also never appear in an American paper today:

The name of a man arrested in Blainville
as a spy: Tourdias. His age: 24. His
profession: traveling salesman of bandages
and medicine.

Truly a novel, an elevator pitch for a Hollywood thriller. Leaves you asking questions, like nothing in the papers today. And that's the whole point, isn't it? Leave them asking for more!
5 vote DavidWineberg | Mar 22, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Félix Fénéonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sante, LucTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallotton, FélixIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wald Lasowski, PatrickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wald Lasowski, RomanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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