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Edward dans sa jungle

Anne Vallaeys

Certain lives are more exciting than those of fiction characters, so why run the risk of romanticizing them? The combination of genres, quite in vogue today, is indicated on the cover: «novel». Yet, most of the facts narrated in this book seem to be taken from reality, in particular the identity and facts attributed to the hero. Edward James was a wealthy British heir, a friend and patron of Dalí’s, who rubbed elbows with the Parisian avant-garde of the thirties – Balanchine’s Ballets 33, Coco Chanel, Georges Auric – before developing a passion for Mexico where, similar to a delirious character of Conrad’s, he decided to build a stone house in the jungle. With the help of local carpenters and foremen, near Xilitla, where the delicious crawfish are bountiful, he built his dream over many decades. A few elementary errors in the transcription could have been avoided («jeffe» in lieu of «jefe», «inglès» in lieu of «inglés», «benvenudo» in lieu of «bienvenido») but the slice of life of the old adventurer (who died in 1984) remains very enticing …

Edward dans sa jungle (Edward in his jungle) by Anne Vallaeys, Fayard, 2010, 336 p., 19 €.

Edward dans sa jungle - Anne Vallaeys

Review published in the newsletter #205 - from 24 February 2011 to 2 March 2011

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