That's appropriate for Manotti, who writes about greed and decadence among France's ruling elites. Though Manotti is decidedly of the left politically, her books shun politics in the everyday sense of policies, debates, and party affairs. The bad guys in Affairs of State are Socialists, but that's only because the Socialist Party, in the person of Francois Mitterand, held the French presidency in the mid-1980s, when the book is set (though certain details of Mitterand's past may have fired Manotti's imagination). In Manotti's world, money is all that matters. (She's an economic historian when not writing award-winning crime novels.) Here's how she begins a short afterword to Affairs of State:
"In France, the 1980s were commonly referred to as the `years of easy money,' because during this decade money came to represent, for an entire political class and regardless of whether they were in power or in opposition, an end and a value in itself, at a time when entrepreneurs and financiers became the new heroes of modern times."Manotti is not quite as bleak as Jean-Patrick Manchette, but she shares with him an aversion to overt partisanship that makes her books all the sharper as social critiques — and all the more effective as fiction.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011