Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
The N'Gustro Affair
by Jean-Patrick Manchette, translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith
An NYRB Classics Original
Mean, arrogant, naïve, sadistic on occasion, the young Henri Butron records his life story on tape just before death catches up with him. A death passed off as a suicide by his killers, French secret service agents who need to hush up their role—and Butron’s—in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of a leading opposition leader from a third-world African nation in the throes of a postcolonial civil war.
The N’Gustro Affair is a thinly veiled retelling of the 1965 abduction and killing of Mehdi Ben Barka, a radical opponent of King Hassan II of Morocco. But this is merely the backdrop to Jean-Patrick Manchette’s first-person portrait (with shades of Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me) of a man who lacks the insight to see himself for what he is: a wannabe nihilist too weak to be even a full-bore fascist.