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ARMAND by Emmanuel Bove

ARMAND

By Emmanuel Bove

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1987
ISBN: 0856356395
Publisher: Carcanet--dist. by Harper & Row

This second, understated novel from France's Bove, originally published in the 20's, is a welcome follow-up to the author's first work, My Friends (first published here in 1986). Armand, an impoverished Parisian, has moved up in the world by insinuating himself into the good graces of a wealthy older woman, Jeanne, from whose apartment he's forged a series of further connections. His life divides into two critical periods: early poverty, and his new-found world of leisure rounded out by cafÉ etiquette and expensive clothing. A convert to bourgeois nuance and modern ""convenience"" gadgetry, Armand's greatest fear is that he'll backslide into obscurity. Though he considers his worldly gain the result of personal cunning, the possibility that he has merely lucked out occurs to him when he runs into a friend from the old days. Lucien reminds Armand of his previous self: self-conscious, anxious, hanging on by a thread. Embarrassed and yet at the same time oddly drawn to his own past through Lucien, a simple indiscretion--kissing Lucien's sister--is all it takes for Armand to find himself back on the street after Lucien informs Jeanne of his slight betrayal. Down on his luck, Armand is back where he began--and perhaps where he really wants to be. A distinctive doppelganger story that transforms the minutiae of day-to-day manners into a nightmarish, slow-motion vision seen against a background of Paris in the 20's--and likely to bolster the renewed interest in Bove already prompted by republication of My Friends.