Paris Noir: The Suburbs

Akashic. (Akashic Noir). Feb. 2022. 280p. ed. by Hervé Delouche. tr. from French by Katie Shireen Assef, David Ball, Nicole Ball & Paul Curtis Daw. ISBN 9781617757556. pap. $16.95. M
The latest in Akashic Books’ seemingly endless series of place-based crime noir fiction. This time, the short stories center on the suburbs of Paris, fertile soil for all sorts of resentment and violence. The dozen stories in the collection are all by writers fresh to American readers. In Cloé Mehdi’s “I Am Not Paris,” a young Arab reacts to the anti-Muslim witch hunt that followed the Charlie Hebdo massacre. In Christian Roux’s “The Metamorphosis of Emma F.,” a man abducts a movie star, force-feeds her, then kills her and tosses her body away. In Marc Villard’s “Beneath the Péripherique,” a 15-year-old living on the streets witnesses a murder but can’t do anything about it because people like him are unprotected in Paris. In Timothée Demeillers’s “Pantin, Really,” an Albanian hides in Paris to escape a blood feud in Kosovo, but it finds him anyway. Marc Fernandez’s “The Baroness” tracks the police closing in on a bored baroness and her drug-dealing lover.
VERDICT For lovers of crime noir short fiction, these are 12 stories of life lived in the raw.
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