Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
on 22 November 2012
This book contains ten short stories by the great Marcel Ayme, all of them new translations by Sophie Lewis. The collection starts off with Ayme's most famous tale 'The Man Who Waled Through Walls', which is about a civil servant who finds that he can walk through any wall. Bored with his mundane life he sets himself up as a master criminal, but like all things, it has to end. Along with this you have tales on a woman who can split herself into multiple copies and thus carry on affairs and get married all round the world, a novel approach to tax collecting, the problems that can arise when trying to get into Heaven, and the havoc that can come about with time, and the fact that it isn't constant.
Reading these you can see the effect of the Second World War and the occupation of France had on the author as this does show through. All the tales are fantastical to a degree but these do show a lot of pathos, and you really get a feel for the characters and their situations. Ayme doesn't hold back when taking something ludicrous and following it through to its logical conclusion, which gives all these tales a certain sense of fun. Continually playing with your expectations and showing how absurd things can become this is a real pleasure to read.