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Cerf, Muriel 1951(?)–

Cerf, Muriel 1951(?)–

PERSONAL: Born 1951 (one source says 1950), in Paris, France. Education: Studied Oriental art at École du Louvre.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Editions du Rocher, 6 pl. St.-Sulpice, 75006 Paris, France. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Valéry Larbaud Prize, 1975.

WRITINGS:

L'antivoyage, Mercure de France (Paris, France), 1974, reprinted, Éditions J'ai lu, 1995.

Le diable vert (novel), Mercure de France (Paris, France), 1975, reprinted Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1997.

Les rois et les voleurs (novel), Mercure de France (Paris, France), 1975, translated by Dominic Di Bernardi as Street Girl, Dalkey Archive Press (Elmwood Park, IL), 1988.

Hiéroglyphes de nos fins dernières (novel), Mercure de France (Paris, France), 1977.

Le Lignage du serpent (novel), Mercure de France (Paris, France), 1978.

Les seigneurs du Ponant (novel), Mercure de France (Paris, France), 1979, reprinted, Éditions du Rocher (Monaco), 2001.

Amérindiennes (novel), Stock (Paris, France), 1979.

Une passion (novel), J.-C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1981.

Maria Tiefenthaler (novel), A. Muriel (Paris, France), 1982.

Une pâle beauté (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1984.

Dramma per musica (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1986.

Doux oiseaux de Galileé (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1988.

La nativité à l'étoile (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1989.

Primavera toscana: détail de la légende d'une florentine, Sand (Paris, France), 1989.

Julia M.; ou, Le premier regard (novel), R. Laffont (Paris, France), 1991.

Le verrou (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1997.

Ogres, et autres contes (short stories), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1997.

Une vie sans secret, Éditions du Rocher (Monaco), 1998.

Servantes de l'oeil (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 1999.

Ils ont tué Vénus Ladouceur, Éditions du Rocher (Monaco), 2000.

Triomphe de l'agneau, Éditions du Rocher (Monaco), 2000.

La lumière de l'île, Actes Sud (Arles, France), 2001.

La femme au chat (novel), Actes Sud (Arles, France), 2001.

Le bandit manchot (novel), Éditions du Rocher (Monaco), 2002.

L'homme du souterrain (novel), Éditions du Rocher (Monaco), 2003.

L'étoile de Carthage, Écriture (Paris, France), 2004.

La petite culotte, Maren Sell (Paris, France), 2005.

Bertrand Cantat; ou, le chant des automates, Écriture (Paris, France), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: French novelist Muriel Cerf has been highly acclaimed for her intricate, challenging prose style that is rich in imagery and metaphor. In a review of the author's Le Lignage du serpent, for instance, French Review contributor Amy B. Millstone noted that the author's sentences are "often two pages long" and "undulate in serpentine fashion, embracing in their coils a rich series of mythological metaphors and sensual colors." Even those reviewers who have found flaws in her fiction have conceded that her stylistic skills are formidable. As French Review writer Michael G. Hydak wrote in his assessment of Amérin-diennes, while the "narrative aspect of the book remains thin" the author still "redeems the book and asserts her skill as a writer" through her descriptions of settings and people. Critics similarly praised the writing in the more recent Le verrou, a novel in which "Cerf succeeds brilliantly in suffusing her pages with emotion and eroticism," according to Elisabeth Beyer in the Times Literary Supplement.

Most of Cerf's novels have yet to be translated into English, with the exception of Street Girl, the 1988 translation of the author's 1975 novel Les rois et les voleurs. The central character of Street Girl is Lydie Tristan, a spoiled French teenager living in 1960s France who indulges in sexual promiscuity and illegal activities in her attempt to experience life more intensely. "Cerf's prose will be too rich for some people's blood," predicted a Kirkus Reviews contributor: "This is as far from minimalism as we can get. But the rhetoric perfectly matches the adolescent sensibility." Times Literary Supplement critic Sara Rance described the style in the novel as "prose poetry." The reviewer added: "Cerf captures what it is like to be fifteen and female with a faultless touch; it is a major achievement to convey the benign contempt of the adolescent for authority and not compromise it with the hindsight of adulthood."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Bloomsbury Review, January, 1989, Barbara Loren, review of Street Girl, p. 17.

Economist, June 21, 1997, review of Le verrou, p. R14.

French Review, December, 1979, Amy B. Millstone, review of Le Lignage du serpent, p. 308; October, 1980, Michael G. Hydak, review of Amérindiennes, p. 189.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 1988, review of Street Girl, pp. 1421-1422.

Small Press, August, 1989, Thomas M. Reilly, review of Street Girl, p. 42.

Times Literary Supplement, October 13, 1989, Sara Rance, "Stormy Youth," review of Street Girl, p. 1130; October 10, 1997, Elisabeth Beyer, review of Le verrou, p. 25.

World Literature Today, autumn, 1979, Nicholas Catanoy, review of Le Lignage du serpent, p. 643.

ONLINE

Muriel Cerf Home Page, http://www.murielcerf.com (March 6, 2006).

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