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Beyond ReturnGenre and Cultural Politics in Contemporary French Fiction$
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Lucas Hollister

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786942180

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786942180.001.0001

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Ghosts (Jean Echenoz)

Ghosts (Jean Echenoz)

(p.132) Chapter Three Ghosts (Jean Echenoz)
Beyond Return

Lucas Hollister

Liverpool University Press

In this chapter, I examine how Jean Echenoz transforms and repurposes popular genres—specifically crime fiction and the war novel--in subtly political manners. Through readings of Echenoz’s (anti-)mystery novel A Year (1997) and his short war novel 1914 (2012), I show how Echenoz smuggles biopolitical and spectral problematics into his works, enlarging the conceptual scope of popular story forms and genre fictions. My reading of Echenoz positions him not as a writer that brings us back to the pleasures of story, but rather as a writer who demonstrates how we can alter the generic conventions and narrative strategies of popular violent fiction in order to account for biopolitical exclusion and mediated phantom pain. Echenoz is thus a writer who shows us some ingenious strategies for rethinking the uses of forms and genres.

Keywords:   Jean Echenoz, Postmodernism, Minimalism, Mystery, Noir, War novel, Spectrality, Jacques Derrida, Animal Studies, Biopolitics

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