Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Man Who Walked Through Walls

This book of exquisitely written short stories was published in Occupied Paris in 1943. Marcel Aymé (1902-67) has been compared with Kafka and the Surrealists but his subversive fantasies lack the menace of the former and the mania of the latter. His parallel universes are always convincing and constructed with a delicate touch. An unexpected air of geniality prevails but there’s no space for sentimentality. A few streets away from Sacré-Coeur there is a Place Marcel Aymé with a sculptural tribute of a bronze figure emerging from a brick wall. The title story was filmed in 1951 as Le Passe-muraille – it launched the career of the quintessentially Gallic comic actor, Bourvil, and the female lead part was played by Joan Greenwood in the same year as she flirted with a manic Alec Guinness in The Man in the White Suit. Bourvil’s last film would be Le Cercle rouge, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville in 1970. The Man Who is a popular formula for titling books when imagination fails to come up with anything better and I quickly located these examples lurking on my shelves. 

1 comment:

E Berris said...

Have just been enjoying the wonderful detail in the Bateman cover - the mustard (probably dried up) with spoon, the clearly different salt and pepper pots, the chick leaping out of the (soft) boiled egg, etc, all the minutiae of everyday life in the period - it would not be half so funny without this. Nice blog, thanks.