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Review: The Executioner Weeps () by Frédéric Dard (Trans: David Coward) – A Crime is Afoot

Le tueur triste. Mass Market Paperback. Cette mort dont tu parlais. Les salauds vont en enfer. La dynamite est bonne a boire. Le cahier d'absence. Puisque les oiseaux meurent. See all free Kindle reading apps.

Start reading C'est toi le venin French Edition on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Certainly willing to depict the brutality of this lawless chaos, crime novels often comply with sensationalist codes such as eroticization of female bodies and complaisance in representing the extreme violence of cartels and prostitution. Thus, they cannot avoid the ethical questioning they are willing to submit contemporary Mexican society to. This essay explores to what extent literature is able to examine brutal exploitation without being endangered by exhibitionism.

Of particular media interest is the increasing female diaspora, which has become associated with exploitation, abuse and even mass murder in the context of maquiladora-migration to Northern Mexico in the s and early s. In the s and s, the often foreign-owned and still popular maquiladoras mainly hired inexperienced women, and local authorities quickly voiced their concern about the risks entailed in the massive affluence of young working women and their financial emancipation. However, this was mainly linked to notions of sexual depravation.


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Influenced by notions of the American Dream, which are particularly strong close to the border, these women are often perceived as liberated and promiscuous because they do not follow traditional moral roles attributed to housewives Lopez Such social violence finds its literary portrayal in the crime novel genre, in which the detective appears often as a committed character who offers the possibility of justice Voionmaa While certainly willing to depict criminal society in order to denounce its violence, crime novels cannot avoid the ethical questioning they are willing to submit contemporary society to.

It is precisely in this context of violence towards women that Argentine writer Rolo Diez chooses to set his crime novels. In French reviews, Rolo Diez is frequently mentioned as one of the most famous writers of the Argentinian and Mexican roman noir2. Moreover, as many Mexican romans noirs inherit their aesthetics from European and Northern-American traditions Mateo , French readers are accustomed to this literary genre which is still successful in the editorial market, as shown by the numerous festivals dedicated to polar3.

International Crime Fiction Research Group

All translations from French are mine. He was rewarded with the Dashiell Hammett Award in for his novel Luna de escarlata, which depicts the links between violence, corruption, drug trafficking and power in contemporary Mexico, where many of his crime novels are set. Mainly driven by material, sexual and financial pragmatism, he constantly schemes to get and give money to his two wives, i. However, key questions remain: Can we analyse the literary exhibition of violence towards women in the Mexican frontier as a fictional allegory, or does this exhibition raise questions about ethics in literary productions?

To what extent can aesthetics be separated from ethics?

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In his essay, Close explains how success can sometimes proceed from sexuality and voyeurism. Even if Eros and Thanatos go far back in the detective novel tradition, Close observes a contemporary turn in crime novels inherited from the massive success of pornographic and sadistic novels by best-seller writer Mickey Spillane Close As Glen Close clearly demonstrates in his essay 'Desnudarse y morir', a title that is borrowed from the "hard-boiled" detective novel written by Hispano-Mexican author Juan Miguel de Mora , the American hard-boiled tradition, exported in Spain and Latino-America, is a successful and popular "sous-genre" of crime novels.

Hence the question raised by the possibility for fiction to represent sexual violence, perversion and sadism, notions Bataille calls 'evil' , connects to something we could call its ethics. Indeed Bataille offers to see literature and eroticism as ways for man to dive into himself precisely because literature and eroticism are ways to represent evil. Eroticism, but also literature as it can show evil, enable the mind to 'go […] deep into the abyss that man is for himself' Bataille 72 4. In doing so, the human mind opens to 'the truth of evil' Bataille 71 5 and, far from avoiding the horror of evil, looks into its depths with lucidity.

Thus the literary representation of evil should not be reduced to a simple leaning for voyeurism or perversion, but it cannot be separated from human desires. In this way, aesthetics are deeply linked to ethical questions. Considering such a violent context as Mexican criminality, morality in Mexican crime novels cannot consist of a hypocritical or reactionary absence of sexuality, but in the integrity of the literary process. In particular, the author must answer the reader for what, how and why s he chooses to write.

When literature takes on the horror and the evil, what are the consequences for the author and for the reader? In the sixth lesson of his novel Elizabeth Costello, entitled 'The problem of evil', J.

Grand Prix de Littérature Policière

Coetzee questions the possibility for a novelist to come out of his fiction unharmed. Deeply troubled by the reading of a fictional novel written by Paul West, The Very Rich Hours of Count von Stauffenberg, fictitious memoirs in which National Socialist atrocities are described in the first- person narrative, Elizabeth Costello wonders about the contagion of evil: 'Can anyone […] wander as deep as Paul West does into the Nazi forest of horrors and emerge unscathed? Have we considered that the explorer enticed into that forest may come out no better and stronger for the experience but worse?

According to Elizabeth Costello, evil must be kept unspoken of and hidden because it is obscene: Obscene. That is the word, a word of contested etymology that she must hold on to as talisman. She chooses to believe that obscene means off-stage. To save our humanity, certain things that we may want to see may want to see because we are human! Paul West has written an obscene book, he has shown what ought not to be shown Coetzee Relying on a most likely false etymology, the obscene for Costello is what has to be kept out of sight, even if Costello herself does not completely understand the urge of her feelings.

The immersion in horror and perversion could be dangerous for the writer and for the reader as well, plunged into the depths of evil, as they both might lose their humanity. All translations from French are my translations. Settling their narrative point of view in the margins, a symbolic, lawless area of illness, madness, and violence Foucault , contemporary crime novels question individual violence as well as social injustice. In doing so, they remind the reader that sometimes, the most violent crime is perpetuated by the impunity of the state system, reducing and crushing individuals Foucault The first part of the novel deals with the corpse of Carmina, a young girl from Tijuana who died in Mexico during a party.

The press reveal that Carmina died of drug poisoning and sexual abuse and point out the persons at fault, i. Thus, from the very beginning of the novel, the reader clearly understands that business in Mexico is mostly about drugs and prostitution, mainly because of the extreme poverty endured by the Mexican people.

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To stress this tragic social situation, the novel underlines the contrast with the North: on the one hand, rich and young North American people coming to Tijuana for drugs and sex, on the other hand, poor Mexican people trying to escape for a better life in the North. Exploitation, prostitution and drugs prevail in this world that is only led by money. To prove it, Diez shows that everything can be bought, from police to justice. The less guilty of them benefit from the corrupted system and the guiltiest commit murders and are even part of the cartels, as the second and third parts of the novel prove.

But what happens when the authority bearer stands for objectionable values? To what extent can corruption spread in the fiction without questioning the ethics of the novel itself? Always perceived as a sexual stereotype, as an object to possess or as a corpse to dispose of, women embody many issues of this corrupted business in Mexico and question the ethical guidance offered by the detective narrator who always appears to be sarcastic and cynical about the necessity to manage and get money, as if general corruption and perversion could justify his own misbehaviour.