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Absolute Perfection of Crime [Hardcover]

Tanguv Viel
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2003
An explosive crime novel with all the tough grittiness of film noir.

The Absolute Perfection of Crime is a novel with all the originality, toughness, and surprises of the best black-and-white film noir. Setting: A small French seaside town. Characters: A group of old crooks, on the verge of retirement. Plot: One final coup—an imaginative and brazen hold-up of the local casino. Thus starts the perfect crime.

Author Tanguy Viel is too young to have seen the Hollywood crime films of the 1950s when they first appeared, but American film noir, along with the modern, gritty visions of directors such as Martin Scorsese and Abel Ferrara, have shaped both his imagination and literary style. This brilliant and promising young French novelist is sure to delight an American audience.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Viel's English-language debut, a crime novel about a band of aging crooks who reunite to rob a casino in a French coastal town, is a small but polished gem that sparkles from start to finish. The slim volume opens with the anonymous first-person narrator meeting an old friend named Marin, just released from prison, who proceeds to give the narrator a thorough beating-for old time's sake. Marin and the narrator then get down to the business of planning a perfect crime-for old time's sake. They work with an old comrade and surveillance pro, Andrei, and a former cellmate of Marin's named Lucho, a suspicious character who refuses cognac ("we don't have fun unless we drink," the affronted narrator explains to him). The robbery commences with the narrator and a moll named Jeanne deliberately losing a large sum so that they can complain and distract management. Viel does a superb job of establishing a tense atmosphere, writing in long, stream-of-consciousness sentences with staccato rhythms ("In my memory the scene lasted an hour, but in reality five minutes, the alcohol, the concrete, the frowns and our glances pulling tight the drawstring of our fear"). He also pulls off stunning plot twists as several members of the team unveil hidden agendas. The wry old tough guys are familiar figures, of course, but Viel's toast to Hollywood noir and mob movies is crisp and deftly plotted-a treat for crime fiction fans.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Born in 1973, Tanguy Viel lives in Nantes, France. He is the author of two previous novels, Black Note and Cinéma.

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2.0 out of 5 stars Slim Homage To Noir Never Finds Its Own Voice Oct. 27 2003
By A. Ross
Format:Hardcover
The French fascination with noir is demonstrated in this unsatisfying novella about a casino heist in an anonymous coastal city. The book starts with the release of the narrator's partner, Marin, from jail after three years. The two are part of a tiny "family" of gangsters with a bedridden old man as godfather. Led by Marin, the gang is just tough enough to control a small piece of the action, but are minor players in the underworld. Marin emerges from jail with a grand scheme to rob a casino in what will be "the absolute perfection of crime". The narrator and another gang member, Andrei, realize that the job is beyond them and it will all end badly, yet true to the noir form, they accept the inevitability of fate and go along with everything. It's all atmosphere and terse sentences as the group plans, and then in an odd shift, the narrator describes the actual heist in a reenacting for a judge. Clearly things didn't quite work out, and indeed, the "absolute perfection" disintegrated in in a shootout with the cops. The final part of the story shows the narrator emerging from jail after seven years to track down his betrayer and exact revenge. Even though all the elements are there: betrayal, death, a beautiful woman, a heist, revenge- it's never all that interesting. Perhaps because it's little more than homage to a hundred films and books we've already seen and read, and has no voice of its own. If you're really after French noir, I'd suggest finding one of Jean-Patrick Manchette's recently translated books from the '70s, like The Prone Gunman.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Noir that suffers from becoming Black March 15 2003
Format:Hardcover
I must confess that I have trouble with novels in translation. All too often I'm brought up short by a phrase or construction that simply sounds, well, "translationese".
APOC suffers from this more than most. It is a real struggle to translate the translation into something resembling "American". Once you do, if you can, it's a pretty taut little tale of crime, vengeance, and low-lives as they are lived. But for so brief a book, on so explosive a theme, to move as slowly as it does, weakens the effort considerably.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slim Homage To Noir Never Finds Its Own Voice Oct. 27 2003
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The French fascination with noir is demonstrated in this unsatisfying novella about a casino heist in an anonymous coastal city. The book starts with the release of the narrator's partner, Marin, from jail after three years. The two are part of a tiny "family" of gangsters with a bedridden old man as godfather. Led by Marin, the gang is just tough enough to control a small piece of the action, but are minor players in the underworld. Marin emerges from jail with a grand scheme to rob a casino in what will be "the absolute perfection of crime". The narrator and another gang member, Andrei, realize that the job is beyond them and it will all end badly, yet true to the noir form, they accept the inevitability of fate and go along with everything. It's all atmosphere and terse sentences as the group plans, and then in an odd shift, the narrator describes the actual heist in a reenacting for a judge. Clearly things didn't quite work out, and indeed, the "absolute perfection" disintegrated in in a shootout with the cops. The final part of the story shows the narrator emerging from jail after seven years to track down his betrayer and exact revenge. Even though all the elements are there: betrayal, death, a beautiful woman, a heist, revenge- it's never all that interesting. Perhaps because it's little more than homage to a hundred films and books we've already seen and read, and has no voice of its own. If you're really after French noir, I'd suggest finding one of Jean-Patrick Manchette's recently translated books from the '70s, like The Prone Gunman.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Noir that suffers from becoming Black March 15 2003
By S. Berner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must confess that I have trouble with novels in translation. All too often I'm brought up short by a phrase or construction that simply sounds, well, "translationese".
APOC suffers from this more than most. It is a real struggle to translate the translation into something resembling "American". Once you do, if you can, it's a pretty taut little tale of crime, vengeance, and low-lives as they are lived. But for so brief a book, on so explosive a theme, to move as slowly as it does, weakens the effort considerably.
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