FANCY GOODS and OPEN ALL NIGHT by Paul Morand

FANCY GOODS and OPEN ALL NIGHT

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Written in 1921 and 1922 by French writer Morand (1888-1976), these sketches of Parisian flappers would hardly be a candidate for 1980s rediscovery--if it were not for the fact that they were translated by Ezra Pound: those translations never saw print back in the 1920s but were found in a trunk in Virginia in 1976. And it's not difficult to see why (financial reasons aside) these two groups of stories might have appealed to Pound--considering his interest in the condensation of linguistic imagery. (An example of Morand's prose: ""No hollow whitewashed apple tree could avoid bending over water reflecting the clouds, weighted with a boat and the odors of an alcohol lamp."") But Morand's work itself--portraits of seductive, neurotic women--is thin, mannered, recherchÉ; only one story (""Borealis,"" the last piece in Open All Night) has a flavor of comedy and oddness about it--with musings on German nudism adding to the sketch of yet another burstingly interesting young woman. So this is a literary curiosity-item for the most part, complete with Marcel Proust's preface to Fancy Goods--which hardly mentions Morand's work. . . but later was to become an intelligent section of Centre Sainte Beuve.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1984
Publisher: New Directions