Holiday in a Coma; And, Love Lasts Three Years: Two Novels
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One night in a Parisian nightclub and the aftermath of a marriage provide the stories for these two novels by Frederic Beigbeder, award-winning author of 'Windows on the World'. Both novels, translated into English for the first time here, are narrated by Marc Marronier, a shallow, superficial, rich Parisian who works as an advertising executive, but concentrates much of his energy on frequenting the demimonde of Parisian clubs and bars. It's a world Beigbeder is all too familiar with, and his caustic observations are all the more accurate for it. In 'Holiday in a Coma', Marc Marronier is invited by his old friend, an American DJ, to the opening of a new nightclub called The Shitter (a satirical take on the famous Paris nightclub, Les Bains Douche). Taking place over a single unforgettable night, the novel documents everything from the pit-bull bouncer on the door, to the drugs, cocktails and wannabes who frequent the club. Marc has set his sights on seducing a catwak model -- any one will do -- and is trying to keep a clear head while all around are paying good money to lose theirs. A catalogue of degeneracy, drugs, sex and decibels, 'Holiday in a Coma' is written with a fury and passion that reflect the author's own relationship with a world and he both loves and loathes. In 'Love Lasts Three Years', our hero Marc has just been divorced and -- shallow opportunist that he is -- has decided to write a book about it. He has a theory that love lasts no more than three years, and here -- while recounting the highs and lows of his marriage and taking us through brash nightclubs, vainglorious offices and soulless designer apartments -- he brings to bear the theoretical and the empirical to prove his point. Both frightening and funny, the book reads like a diary: sometimes tender and real, sometimes fantastical and cruel, peppered with Beigbeder's acerbic one-liners and trademark wit.
A THING!’ screams Loulou. Marc hasn’t got very far. The woman on his left despises him and the one on his right is a Klingon. To top it all, he nearly killed the ringmaster’s fiancée. It would probably be best for him to head home while there’s still time. By the way, Clio is feeling better: she is sleeping soundly on a banquette near the DJ booth. The ruckus doesn’t seem to be bothering her unduly. The food fight breaks out immediately. The vacherin flows, the coulis flies, the
in pain and leaves the flat. He refuses to panic. He thinks: ‘Mythify everything because everything is mythic. Things, places, dates, people are all potential legends, you just have to find the right myth. Everyone who lived in Paris in 1940 will eventually be a character in a Patrick Modiano novel. Anyone who set foot in a London pub in 1965 will have slept with Mick Jagger. When you get down to it, being a legend is easy: you just have to wait your turn. Carnaby Street, the Hamptons, Greenwich
phase when they all got married, right now they’re going through the one where they all get divorced before they die. Curiously, all this happens in jaunty places like the one I’m in now: La Voile Rouge, a sundrenched beach in Saint-Tropez, where they play eurodance in the bars and spray Louis Roederer Cristal over bikini-clad lumpensluts only to lick it out of their belly buttons. Here, I’m deafened by the sound of forced laughter. I’d throw myself into the sea and drown if there weren’t so many
complete impunity. ‘The Festivity is what is waited for, what is expected.’ (Roland Barthes, Fragments of a Lover’s Discourse.) ‘Shut the fuck up, you legendary stiff,’ grumbles Marronnier. ‘Wait long enough, you’ll ALWAYS get run over by a dry-cleaning van.’ A few steps later, Marc changes his mind. ‘Actually, Barthes is right. All I ever do is wait and I’m ashamed of it. At sixteen I wanted to take on the world, I wanted to be a rock star, or be a great writer, or be president of France, or
Alice, I love you. Your name isn’t Alice, it’s Alice-I-love-you. Your (deeply depressed) Marc Alice phoned me, on cue, on Monday afternoon and told me she was crazy about me, promised she would never leave me again. We borrowed a friend’s apartment where I tenderly undressed her. To say our reconciliation was pleasurable would be an understatement. The hours we spent together that afternoon should be filed as the benchmark in Sèvres under ‘exceptional sexual pleasure as experienced between