“Ever since he married a flapper, he’s become not simply American, but Fitzgeraldian,” notes Roland Jaccard apropos the French president he finds almost Gatsbyesque. Jaccard the café nihilist, whose work appeared in Absinthe 11, reports that he elicits, when sympathizing with Sarkozy, the pity of friends less appalled by the president’s politics than his poor taste and flouting of French tradition.
Madame Bruni-Sarkozy, however, won Jaccard’s heart at a party by being able to recite Dorothy Parker. Jaccard never quite goes so far as to say in Sex and Sarcasms, his most recent collection of feuilletons, that her voice is full of money, but does provide examples of her blithe charm: “They all say that what happened between Nicolas and me was too fast, but they’re wrong: it wasn’t fast, it was instantaneous. So all in all, it was fairly slow for us.” Or “Are you always waiting, like I am, for the longest day of the year, only to miss it when it comes? Do you do that too?”
In another sketch Jaccard notes that we are, “in our heart of hearts, fascinated by swindlers and dictators, but shrink from admitting it. Only a scoundrel practices a realpolitik of feelings.” Jaccard would be honored, I think, to be considered such a scoundrel.
Best Translated Book Award longlist - The longlist for the Best Translated Book Award (for which I am a judge) will be announced at 10 AM EST today; this post will updated with the full ...
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