A little tribute to Bukowski in a French recent novel (1 Viewer)


Sordide Sentimental
The novel is untitled Le fait du prince and dates back to September 2008. The author, Amélie Nothomb, is a phenomenon in France: Since 1992, a new book from her releases on each September and immediately becomes a best-seller. I myself used to read her till I grew tired of her in the same way I grew tired of Michel Houellebecq. Thus, I have not read this one, I have "borrowed" it to a sister and can only say it deals with a man who usurps the identity of another man who has just died.

Bukowski is mentioned in (on?) page 129 within a dialogue.

The French version:

Ë— À quelle heure commençons-nous ? demanda-t-elle.
Ë— À onze heures du matin. C'est le défaut du champagne : il n'est pas bon au saut du lit.
Ë— Vous avez déjà essayé ?
Ë— Oui, comme le vin, le whisky, la vodka et la biére : ça ne passe pas.
Ë— De la biére le matin ? Pourquoi avez-vous tenté une chose aussi affreuse ?
Ë— Vous avez raison, c'est la pire. C'était par admiration pour Bukowski qui se réveillait encore profondément imbibé et qui buvait aussitÃ't une biére. J'ai vite renoncé à l'imiter. Lui, c'était un héros.
Ë— Un alcoolique, vous voulez dire.
Ë— Le héros de l'alcoolisme. Il buvait avec une sorte de vaillance. Il avalait des doses incroyables d'alcool de qualité infecte, et puis il écrivait des pages magnifiques.
Ë— Voulez-vous écrire, vous aussi ?
Ë— Non. Je veux être avec vous.
Ë— Vous voulez voir où l'alcoolisme nous conduira ?
Ë— On ne peut pas être alcoolique en ne buvant que du champagne.

Elle me considéra avec scepticisme.

An attempt of English translation:

Ë— What time shall we begin? she asked.
Ë— At eleven a.m. That is champagne's defect: It is not good to drink it first thing in the morning.
Ë— Did you ever try?
Ë— Yes, it is the same with wine, whisky, vodka and bier: it just will not do.
Ë— Bier in the morning? Why did you try such an awful thing?
-You are right, that is the worst one. It was due to my admiration for Bukowski who used to wake up still deeply soaked and drank a bier right away. I quickly gave up imitating him. He was a hero.
- You mean an alcoholic.
- The hero of alcoholism. He drank with a kind of valour. He swallowed unbelievable quantities of booze, and he then wrote magnificent pages.
- Do you want to write too?
- No. I want to be with you.
- Do you want to see where alcoholism will lead us?
Ë— One cannot be alcoholic by drinking champagne only.

She considered me with scepticism.

I have also found a literary TV program where she appeared. For French speakers only :D:

(she is questioned about her tribute to Buk at 12.40)

This discovery makes me curious about the content of Amélie Nothomb's 17th book. But I just can't read a book which author poses on the cover in such a way:


That is even more pomo than turning a blog into a book and putting a smiley in the title. :D :D :D


  • Le fait du prince.jpg
    Le fait du prince.jpg
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This was without a doubt the silliest bullshit that came out of my mouth during that memorable night of heavy drinking.

Do you worship me so much that you take seriously and promptly concretise every "idea" I happen to express when I am drunk as hell?

Go get pomo Amélie. Birds of a feather flock together.


(Dr. Love, where are you? Don't tell me one of your patients gave you the clap again! We are waiting for your brilliant analysis and conclusions on the strange case of Mr. President and Miss Clueless.)
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Another book written by Colin Broderick, called "Orangutan" where Bukowski is mentioned as his 'mentor' in writing and drinking. As many Irishmen, he suffers from the "Irishmen's disease."
It looks like a picture by Pierre & Gilles.
I have just checked and you are right. Not my cup of tea...

That book cover is grotesque, if you don't mind me saying so...
Actually, this is not the "true" cover, which is a sober white one. It is a cover on the cover, if one can put it like this. But it was the first time she did that. She used to pose only on the pocket editions. And never with such an excessive "mise en scéne".
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I have just checked and you are right. Not my cup of tea...

They are a lot of people's Not-cup-of-tea.

I don't know about their recent work. This cover tells me, they might not have changed much.

They were big in Germany in the late 80s/early90s (like Jeff Koons). I always liked their style:
Self-ironic, yet the Did mean what they did. So artificial and 'plastic' and kitsch - and they KNEW it and did it on purpose. There was always a satirical smile in their work and at the same time, you felt, how Serious they were about it.

Maybe it helps knowing, they're a gay couple. Maybe it doesn't.

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