Fiction. Translated from the French by Nathanaël. MURDER is Danielle Collobert's first novel. Originally published in 1964 by Éditions Gallimard while Collobert was living as a political exile in Italy, this prose work was written against the backdrop of the Algerian War. Uncompromising in its exposure of the calculated cruelty of the quotidian, MURDER'S accusations have photographic precision, inculpating instants of habitual violence.
"Danielle Collobert was one of the strongest, yet also one of the most subtle—and the most marginalized—poetic voices to emerge from post-WW2 France. In this early work, she explores the world of one who is 'marked,' yet she does so through an 'I' that makes this experience, and so many others, suddenly intimate, even intrusive. The 'I' becomes a 'we' that cannot be refused, and yet the sense of isolation—the possibility, which is the inevitability, of isolation—is what actually enables the text and creates its possibilities, which are myriad—and all magnificently rendered through Nathanaël's translation, which multiplies these possibilities and emphasizes the refusal of isolation that Collobert's text ultimately enacts. It's a political statement that works through the most internal channels, and that demands entrance into the reader's most constitutive zones."—Cole Swensen
Author City: Paris FRA
Born in Rostrenen in 1940, Danielle Collobert left Bretagne for Paris at the age of eighteen where she worked in an art gallery and self-published her first poems in a book entitled Chants des guerres (1961). Both of Collobert's parents, and her aunt, who survived deportation to Ravensbrück, were members of the Résistance during World War II. Herself a supporter of Algerian independence, Collobert joined the FLN (the Algerian National Liberation Front), precipitating her exile in Italy, during which time she completed work on Meurtre, first published in 1964 by Éditions Gallimard with the unwavering support of Raymond Queneau. She worked for Révolution africaine, a short-lived journal created at the end of the Algerian war. Collobert's extensive travels, to Czechoslovakia, Indonesia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, Greece, Egypt, etc., did not prevent her from becoming a member of the group formed around Jean-Pierre Faye and the journal, Change. Her other works include Dire I et II (1972), a radio play the following year, Polyphonie, aired by France Culture, Il donc (1976) and Survie (1978). Upon her return from a trip to New York, Danielle Collobert took her own life in a hotel in Paris on her thirty-eighth birthday. Her complete works, in two volumes, edited by Françoise Morvan, augmented by several unpublished texts, were published by P.O.L. in 2005. Collobert's works available in English include MURDER (Litmus Press, 2013), NOTEBOOKS, 1956-1978 (Litmus Press, 2003) and IT THEN (O Books, 1989).
Reviews and Other Links
Publishers Weekly starred review
Blake Butler @ VICE @ Harriet blog
Blake Butler @ VICE Magazine