The fool and other moral tales, Anne Serre
French publishers: Mercure de France and Editions Verdier
U.S. publisher: New Directions Publishing
Translator: Mark Hutchinson
From the brilliant, sui generis Anne Serre—author of the celebrated Governesses—come three delicious, thoroughly out-of-the-way tales.
Fairy-tale atmospheres and complex narratives are a hallmark of the fiction of Anne Serre, represented here by three radically heterodox novellas. The Fool may have stepped out of a tarot pack: “I came across this little figure rather late in life. Not being familiar with playing cards, still less with the tarot, I was a bit uncomfortable when I first set eyes on him. I believe in magic figures and distrust them—a figure observing you can turn the world upside down.” The Narrator concerns a sort of writer-hero: “Outcasts who can’t even tell a story are what you might call dropouts, lunatics, misfits. With them the narrator is in his element, but has one huge advantage: he can tell a story.” The Wishing Table—a moral tale concerning a family happily polyamorous—is the most overtly a fable of these three works, the most naughty, and the briefest, but thin as a razor is thin. A dream logic rules each of these wildly unpredictable, sensual, and surreal novellas: these may be romps, but they are nevertheless deeply moral and entirely unforgettable ones.