Bruce Benderson, 1997

Weird Weather


Drôle de temps is an acidic, touching, and candid comedy of French manners?part memoir and part fiction. Duteurtre’s deadpan vignettes describe the daily life of Paris sophisticates, a childhood in Le Havre, two drunk women driving at 100 mph, or a village conservation proiect with a precision and humor that approach cruelty. He is aware of both the banality of any social endeavor and the placid impermeability of nature in the face of our efforts to appreciate or sentimentalize it. He describes embarrassment and façade in a fin-de-siècle world that no longer has much use for either. Social discomfort infuses almost every part of this book, producing a fiction of the absurd at its most sophisticated. These pieces are liVe dirges, mourning the death of French ceremonv at the hands of a ridiculous high-tech future.

With the « acute sense of the real world » praised by Milan Kundera that made the success of his previous books, Benoît Duteurtre offers a hilarious and wiched collection of common lives at their most worLed-up.

Bruce Benderson

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