There is a recent movie based on Boris Vian’s novel, L’Écume des Jours, and conveniently, a new translation from the French titled Mood Indigo. Since the original was written in 1947 you might find references to such as James Bond books somewhat jarring but each of the translators has worked up the text so as to make it more approachable by modern audiences, especially in the United States. One would think Vian would approve of this, especially since all things American are good in his experience, especially Jazz.
As I was reading Boris Vian’s controversial novel, I Spit On Your Graves (J’irai cracher sur vos tombes), I kept thinking I was reading a long lost James M. Cain novel.
The story is simple involving a black man, Lee, who passes for white; lots of sex and booze; a grudge against the white-man because of a brother who died young; rich, privileged and beautiful young women; and graphic violence. It reads fast and hits hard. Coming directly after the liberation of France, Vian’s novel is a powerful fusion of American noir and French sado-eroticism. As such, it was quite controversial but became a huge commercial success. As you can imagine, the end of Nazi occupation almost deserved a controversial novel, especially one with all that sex and violence.