Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories


Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories

Boris Vian
Edited and translated by Julia Older
Foreword by Louis Malle

French Modernist Library Series

118 pages


April 2001


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eBook (EPUB)

August 2021


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Author Bio

Boris Vian (1920–59), a trained engineer and jazz trumpet player, was a major literary figure in World War II France. Julia Older is the author or editor of many works. Her stories, translations, and poems have appeared in New Directions, the New Yorker, and many other journals.


"[This collection] displays Vian's range from gallows humor to verbal fireworks, and happily serves to give visibility to this important writer."—Publishers Weekly

"Ultimately, Blues for a Black Cat is a collection of moral fables, albeit fables told in a cynical, mocking voice and set in a skewed version of the real world. Under the surface absurdity and verbal play, they offer serious indictments of human weakness and pretensions. Further, they reveal the spiritual emptiness just beneath our civilized façade. Vian's blues are not only for a black cat, but for a society without meaning."—Manoa

"[Blues for a Black Cat] brings back the nimble Vian in a collection of his short fiction, initially published as Les Fourmis in 1949. The work has the unmistakable flavor of the time and place, Claude Abadie's jazz band, the coded and absurdist messages of rebellion, the wistful fables, verbal riffs and goofy anarchic encounters; the mise-en-scene includes an expiring jazzman who sells his sweat, a cat with a British accent and a piano that mixes a cocktail when "Mood Indigo" is played."—Boston Globe