Deep Vellum Publishing
October 15, 2019
4.9 X 0.2 X 6.8 inches | 0.2 pounds
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About the Author
Valérie Mréjen (b. 1969) is a writer, filmmaker, and mixed media artist. She has written five novels, most recently Troisième personne (2017 ), and exhibited widely in France and abroad, including in a solo retrospective at the Jeu de Paume gallery in Paris. She is an alumna of residencies at Villa Medici in Rome and Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto. Mréjen's first feature-length film, En ville, co-directed with Bertrand Schefer, was a Director's Fortnight selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, and her children's play, Trois Hommes Verts, premiered at the Théâtre Gennevilliers in 2014. More information, including many of her films, can be found online at http: //valeriemrejen.com/folio. Katie Shireen Assef is a literary translator living between Los Angeles and Arles, France. Black Forest is her first full -length translation.
Named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2019 Finalist for Big Other's Book Award for Translation "Mréjen's crystalline prose never grasps for sentimentality, and her meticulous, humane, and powerful volume unforgettably depicts the way the dead experience life after death in the traces they leave in the minds of the living." ― Publishers Weekly "Filmmaker and novelist Valérie Mréjen has an eye that cuts and chisels. Nothing escapes her intuitive vigilance...With her, details are isolated and become powerful revealers of truth. Between life and death, in the tradition of Nathalie Sarraute, she seeks to write in the very place where consciousness, emotion, and reason are born, and then fade... she shows that absence can also be a form of presence." -- Marine Landrot, Télérama "A sentence by Valérie Mréjen never pushes, rather glides along the page like on silk... Mréjen puts her finger on the wound, as delicately as possible." -- Eric Chevillard, Le Monde "If Valérie Mréjen were only a filmmaker, she could have been called Chantal Akerman." -- Jean-Luc Douin, Le Monde" [This writer] who always wields the verb with finesse and economy surprises us this time with its dark side-- The subject here is death." -- Elle France "A masterful and delicate book...Mréjen approaches deeper waters and navigates them with a sensible and offbeat touch that lands her among the greats. " -- A.N., l'Humanité "The narrator of Valérie Mréjen's Black Forest recounts a series of deaths, offering a kind of jeweled omnibus of ways to die, in a classy, glassy prose recalling miniaturists par excellence Lydia Davis, Michael Martone, and Robert Walser - think Six Feet Under via Renata Adler's " -- John Madera, novelist and editor of Big Other "In seventy-two pages (including translator's note), Mréjen stalks no less than great Death itself, in all its various tragic or capricious or mundane or shocking or brutal or funny guises." -- Three Percent, Christopher Phipps "Black Forest is a sparse and elegiac novel. Its unrelenting focus on a subject we'd often prefer not to think about makes it a sort of memento mori. Through the scale and disparate passings presented, Mréjen reminds us that while for all of us the moment will come when we pass, death can be a unifying moment rather than just an alienating one. That those who succeed us will do whatever they can and push on. That wherever death might find us, there is also life." -- Kenyon Review, Ian J. Battaglia