“La Nuit is about the Paris of 1957—the one I see when I close my eyes (the nostalgic note). There’s no need to cry, it’s still there. We can piece together the image from the scattered pieces of the jigsaw. And if La Nuit is a love story, it’s not for him, or for her, or for someone else, or for me. It’s a love story, a story of lost love, for the streets.”
—Michèle Bernstein, from the new preface to The Night
Available for the first time in English, the 1961 French novel is the second by Michèle Bernstein, a founding member of radical avant-garde group The Situationist International and the first wife of Marxist theorist Guy Debord. Following All the King’s Horses, it was written for cash and again cannibalizes the plot of the classic novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, featuring the same characters as Bernstein’s debut: Gilles, Geneviève, Carole and Bertrand. The book parodies the style of the nouveau roman popular in France during the 1950s, with its elongated sentences and nonlinear sense of time and place. As its protagonists drift through the streets of Paris, through the entanglements of a ménage à trois, and the ennui of a summer holiday on the Côte d’Azur, The Night is littered with détournements—unattributed quotations and knowing winks at Situationist practices.
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