THE CRAB's RHAPSODY

With The Crab's Rhapsody, Andrés Laszlo is presented to us as a humorist of fertile imagination and abundant resources. "Rhapsody" refers to how the main character, during the time leading up to the German invasion of France, is dealing with his own pacifism; this appears to be a mainly autobiographic work, seen from the point-of-view of the protagonist, whose real identity is not in doubt. The book is set in the bohemian Paris of the beginning of World War II; the monumental Paris, the tourist Paris, and a Paris that swiftly managed to forget about the traumas of the war. This novel makes Paris look as if almost exclusively composed of night cabarets, dangerous clubs, night performers, and quaint attics where more or less authentic artists heroically try not to die from starvation. The book is rough-translated into English and should be finished in early 2019.    VIDEO

Written in the high-spirited and humoristic vein that characterize this singular novelist, his writings take us away and distract us from the first lines. The characters come from all over the world, and it is for different and often quite intriguing reasons that they have chosen Paris as their home. This is a commendable attempt to capture a part of that Paris that does not exist today, and of which surprisingly little has been written. It is about the love between a state executioner (composer on his days off) and a midwife who, really is expected to marry an embalmer of corpses. This is the second book of what can be seen as a mini-series, made up from two-period tragi-comedies, where the other part is The Seal Castle (set in Budapest). NB. Neither this book, nor The Seal Castle, bear any resemblance to Laszlo's following works.