Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
by Jean-Patrick Manchette, translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith, with an introduction by Luc Sante
An NYRB Classics Original
Nada is the most overtly political of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s dark thrillers, a critique of the terrorism that tempted a sliver of the ultra-left in France (and elsewhere) in the wake of the disillusions of 1968. The novel chronicles the kidnapping and eventual killing of an American ambassador by an anarcho-terrorist group who have espoused armed struggle. A rough equivalent to this story might be the saga of the ill-fated Symbionese Liberation Army in California, whose fiery elimination is reminiscent of the police massacre of Manchette’s fictional direct-action group in Nada. The novel is in no sense a political pamphlet, however, and readers who have come to appreciate the very special qualities of Manchette’s writing, and the cool noir style that he inherits in part from Dashiell Hammett and calls “behaviorist,” will not be disappointed in the tour de force that is Nada.
Writing so dark it gives a new meaning to the word noir.
Post Manchette, crime fiction in France acquired a stamp and a tone that turned it once more into an invasion of the everyday, a belligerent raid on appearances, a violent revolution in a genre hitherto guilty of complacency but now startlingly chilling. And Nada is unarguably Manchette’s masterpiece.
—Paco Ignacio Taibo II
The kind of violence for which crime fiction author Jean-Patrick Manchette had a propensity [is] the kind of violence that erupts onto a complacent peace like a bombarding invader and yet carries itself out with an almost choreographed agility. Manchette was a writer of urgency and cunning, of economy and laconic cool, and of narrative that verges on communiqué.
—Los Angeles Review of Books
He was like an electroshock to the chloroformed country of literature and the French thriller.