A Cannibal and Melancholy Mourning

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Coach House Books, 2004 - Fiction - 159 pages
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French novelist Herv Guilbert's 1991 novel, To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, is about a narrator named Herv Guilbert who, after his close friend Muzil (really, Michel Foucault) dies of AIDS, begins to realize his symptoms are the same. In this same tradition of fictionalized memoir, this novel's narrator, called Catherine Mavrikakis, explores the perspective not of dying, but of the one left behind.

In the book, a series of Mavrikakis's friends die, many of AIDS. As each person becomes a Herv to her, she begins to explore the idea of death as a universal yet individual experience. Furious, relieved, terrified and confused, the novel's narrator confronts the way people think about and respond to death, and quiet mourning is replaced by a series of encounters between the living and the dead. Drawing on Deleuze, Freud, Foucault and, of course, Guilbert, Mavrikakis creates a kind of living mausoleum where those unable to speak can still be heard, and where their voices challenge our passivity in the face of death.

 

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Contents

Section 1
ii
Section 2
23
Section 3
24
Section 4
29
Section 5
31
Section 6
39
Section 7
47
Section 8
52
Section 25
101
Section 26
102
Section 27
106
Section 28
107
Section 29
108
Section 30
109
Section 31
112
Section 32
115

Section 9
54
Section 10
60
Section 11
65
Section 12
70
Section 13
71
Section 14
74
Section 15
77
Section 16
79
Section 17
82
Section 18
84
Section 19
86
Section 20
89
Section 21
91
Section 22
94
Section 23
97
Section 24
100
Section 33
118
Section 34
121
Section 35
123
Section 36
127
Section 37
132
Section 38
134
Section 39
135
Section 40
139
Section 41
140
Section 42
141
Section 43
144
Section 44
146
Section 45
148
Section 46
151
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Nathalie Stephens writes l'entre-genre in English and French. Her most recent works include L'Injure, Paper City and Je Nathana l , which was also released in English self-translation (BookThug, 2006). L'Injure was a finalist for the 2005 Prix Alain-Grandbois and le Prix Trillium; the fiction Underground was a finalist in 2000 for the Grand Prix du Salon du livrede Toronto. Stephens is the recipient of a 2002 Chalmers Arts Fellowship. She currently teaches in the MFAW program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Catherine Mavrikakis is a professor of literature at the Universit de Montr al. This book, published in French in 2000 by Editions TROIS as Deuils cannibales et m lancoliques , is her first novel. She has also published the novel a va aller and, with Martine Delvaux, the epistolary fiction Ventriloquies . She is working on a third novel, called Flore-de-crachet .

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