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My Parents (Masks) Paperback – 15 Nov 1993


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?Guibert writes on AIDS with distinction, and with a sense of imaginative daring rarely equalled in English-speaking culture? New Statesman ?Throughout, his sumptuously translated words grace his memories intermixed with dreams, giving English readers another fine remembrance of a fine writer? Booklist

About the Author

Hervé Guibert was one of France's most gifted and controversial writers. His novels include My Parents, Gangsters, and To the Friend who did not Save my Life, a moving novel on the last days of Michel Foucault, a close friend, who died of AIDS. Guibert himself died of AIDS in 1991.

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On Thursday 21 July 1983, when I am on the island of Elba and her sister Suzanne is at her country place in Gisors, my 76-year-old great-aunt Louise has a bad turn on the number of 49 bus going towards the Gare du Nord, where she is to buy a train ticket in advance of some trip. Read the first page
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Guibert at his wittiest and cruellest... 19 Nov. 1998
By G. Cingal (cingal@clipper.ens.fr) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is clearly Guibert at his cruellest and funniest!
This novel was written by French novelist Herve Guibert as he found himself confronted to a growing fame in the French literary milieu. He had never hidden that he was a homosexual, but, in this book, he launches a fierce attack against French families, and more particularly against his own parents. Tenderness is there as well, for instance when the father takes his 12-year-old son to the movies to see a film with Terence Stamp. The mother's absence and the young teenager's fascination for Stamp's beauty coincide, so that this scene is a privileged moment of father-son complicity.
The novel is made of very short chapters and striking aphorisms, with pervasive Nietszchean undertones. The various fragments make up a direct autobiography with no clear chronology.
This is probably the book which illustrates best Guibert's theory that through abundance of real details you manage to escape reality and to build up a real work of fiction. Namely, the crude details pile up without ever making sense from the point of view of biography. On the contrary, what Guibert does, at the end of the day, is much more autography than just autobiography. He transforms his own existence into words. The structure of fiction replaces the tangible reality of life.
Guibert died in 1991 at the age of 36. His last major achievement was his tetralogy in which he explored his journey through AIDS and towards death (A l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauve la vie, Le protocole compassionnel, L'homme au chapeau rouge, Cytomegalovirus). He was a prolific writer and an impressive photographer too.
Bibliography: Read his books !
French writer Marie Darrieussecq has written two university memoirs on Guibert's work.
I wrote an article entitled "Image et texte" (in JARDINS D'HIVER, Paris, Presses de l'ENS, 1997), in which I analyse the links between photography and literature in Guibert's work.
Guillaume Cingal
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