Manchette's The Mad and the Bad: Suspense, anti-consumerism, and nostalgia
"Julie strove to extricate them. Fortunately other victims came tumbling out, bemoaning their singed perms ..."That's from The Mad and the Bad, an English translation of Manchette's 1972 novel O dingos, O chateaux! newly published by New York Review Books, and at the worst, it reads as a mildly nostalgic reminder of a time before the triumph of consumerism, corporations, celebrity, and "content" was complete, before a time when multibillion-dollar corporations like Facebook and Apple were considered cool.
But the novel still hits hard for its fugitives-on-the-run theme, for its avoidance of a tidy ending, and for moments like this, when one criminal henchman seeks his colleague and brother shot dead, and thinks this might be a good time to give up:
"Nénesse sighed, and two large tears sprang from his little eyes. He tossed his weapon aside and waited to be arrested. At that moment the café's owner crossed the terrace in three strides and emptied both barrels of a shotgun into Nénesse's ear."
© Peter Rozovsky 2014