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The Margin by André Pieyre de Mandiargues
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The Margin (1967)

by André Pieyre de Mandiargues

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On arriving in Barcelona a French traveling salesman Sigismond Pons receives a letter from home--opening it he sees the words--'threw herself off the tower...died instantly'. He puts the letter away and takes it back to his hotel room placing it underneath a bottle of wine. For the next 3 days he roams Barcelona's red light district (something he had planned to do anyway) picking up the same prostitute (Juanita) and going into the same seedy hotel and having sex with her. On the last night he goes back once and for all and reads the letter through learning that not only has his wife killed herself but she did so after finding his young son drowned in a pond. On the last day Sigismond then drives out of the city--parks his car and shoots himself. Certainly does not fall into the category of a happy novel--The Margin did win the Prix Goncourt. Sigismond's ramblings through these mean streets is certainly hallucinatory--as he goes about his quest almost mechanically right up to the point he puts the gun to his head. About the only thing that seems to always bring him back to reality are all the signs of Franco's fascist Spain that he's constantly running into and the almost suppressed outrage of Sigismond and some of the more down and out citizens of that city to these pictures and slogans. Anyway I have to say I liked this book quite a bit though it might not be everybody's cup of tea. Pieyre de Mandiargues writing is elegant, very literary and even at times quite witty and like it or not it isn't boring and moves along nicely. ( )
1 vote lriley | Sep 11, 2006 |
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