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Franck, Dan 1952-

FRANCK, Dan 1952-

PERSONAL: Born 1952, in Paris, France. Education: Studied sociology at the University of Paris, Sorbonne, 1970.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Random House, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

CAREER: Novelist and screenwriter. Actor in films, including En compagnie d'Antonin Artaud (also known as My Life and Times with Antonin Artaud).

AWARDS, HONORS: Prix du Premier Roman, 1980, for Les calendes grecques: Roman; prix litteraire Renaudot, 1991, for La separation: Roman.

WRITINGS:

Les Calendes grecques: Roman, Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1980.

Le Petit livre de l'orchestre et de ses instruments, illustrated by Anne Victoire, Mazarine (Paris, France), 1981.

Apolline, Stock (Paris, France), 1982.

Les Têtes de l'art, B. Grasset (Paris, France), 1983.

La Dame du soir: Roman, Mercure de France (Paris, France), 1984.

Les Adieux: Roman, Flammarion (Paris, France), 1987.

Le Cimetiere des fous: Roman, Flammarion (Paris, France), 1989.

La Separation: Roman, Editions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1991, translation by Jon Rothschild published as Separation: A Novel, Knopf (New York, NY), 1994.

Une Jeune fille: Roman, Editions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1994, translation by Jon Rothschild published as My Russian Love, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1997.

Tabac: Recit, Editions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1995.

Nu couché, Editions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1998.

Bohèmes (nonfiction), Calmann-Lévy (Paris, France), 1998, translation by Cynthia Hope Liebow published in the U.S. as Bohemian Paris: Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse, and the Birth of Modern Art, Grove (New York, NY), 2001, published in England as The Bohemians: The Birth of Modern Art, Paris, 1900-1930, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2001.

(Author of text) Le Carnet de la Californie: Dessins 1.11.1955-14.1.1956 / Picasso et Promenade, Cercle d'art (Paris, France), 1999.

"LES AVENTURES DE BORO" SERIES; WITH JEAN VAUTRIN

La Dame de Berlin: Les Aventures de Boro, reporterphotographe, Fayard & Balland (Paris, France), 1987.

Les Temps des cerises, Fayard (Paris, France), 1990.

Les Noces de Guernica, Fayard (Paris, France), 1994.

SCREENPLAYS

(Author of dialogue, with Jacques Deray) Netchaieev est de retour (also known as Netchaieev Is Back), Les Films d'Ecluse/Italmedia Film/TF1 Films Productions, 1991.

(With Christian Vincent) La Separation (also known as The Separation), C.M.V. Productions/Canal+ Productions/France 2 Cinema/D.A. Films/Renn Productions, 1994.

(With Enki Bilal) Tykho Moon, Salome/Schlemmer Film, 1996.

SIDELIGHTS: French-language author/screenwriter Dan Franck has been known since the 1980s particularly for his novels. These works, which include La Dame du soir, Les Adieux, and La Separation, have been favorably compared to the works of other prominent writers in the French language such as Marcel Proust, Samuel Beckett, and Marguerite Duras. Franck's reputation was further cemented when his novel Les Calendes grecques won the distinguished Prix du Premier Roman in 1980. Reviewer John J. Lakich, writing in World Literature Today, praised this story of an old man's slow mental and physical decay as he chronicles his last few days while dying of cancer and called it "highly readable; it is one of those books that hold a reader's attention to the very end and is hard to put down," and declared that it "has a force and originality of its own."

Another of Franck's novels, La Separation, chronicles the eroding marriage of a well-to-do French couple. It received the 1991 Prix litteraire Renaudot and received much praise from French critics. However, New York Times contributor Michiko Kakutani wrote that "the lack of detail in Separation makes for a vague, disembodied narrative and characters who feel more like illustrations in a psychology textbook than flesh-and-blood human beings." Kakutani added that "though some of Mr. Franck's descriptions of the couple's slow dance toward divorce are genuinely moving, his narrative bogs down in increasingly strained and sentimental images." Writing in the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Renee Kingcaid declared that La Separation is reminiscent of thirtysomething, a popular "yuppie melodrama" broadcast on American television in the 1980s, and that "the novel's thirtysomethingness" reflects "Franck's attempt to speak for a generation of heartbroken idealists."

Other reviewers praised the novel for its attempt to present the pain of rejection. Marian Winik, writing in the Washington Post Book World, commented that in La Separation, Franck creates "an emotional resonance that goes beyond generation or gender and a depiction of heartbreak so sharp that anyone recently separated, divorced or dumped should approach the book with care." New York Times Book Review contributor Elizabeth Benedict maintained that the author "is enormously skillful at conveying the wild swings of emotion in a marriage under siege" and deemed La Separation "a powerful story." Richard Eder declared in the Los Angeles Times Book Review that the novel "is a very precisely delineated slice not of life but of life's pain," but added that "Franck has not written a tragedy. Without our quite realizing it, perhaps, he has given us something more like comedy. It is the comedy of pain, and it gives his book its distinctiveness."

My Russian Love, an English translation of Une Jeune fille, is another Franck novel that garnered extensive criticism. In My Russian Love, a filmmaker named Luca sees a woman while leaving Moscow on a train. She reminds him of a Russian girl with whom he had an affair years before. They met while they were both students in France, but the affair ended when the girl, Anna, returned to Russia to help her parents who were imprisoned for their pro-Western beliefs. Writing in the New York Times, Richard Bernstein noted that "My Russian Love is the work of a skilled writer, a man of refined sensibility and a keen dramatic sense, but it needs a less well-worn theme and a deeper exploration of character than the author provides to make it fully realized." According to a Publishers Weekly contributor, "Franck certainly knows how to structure a story, and his short vignette-like chapters slip by at a brisk pace." Reviewing My Russian Love in the New York Times Book Review, Zofia Smardz said that Franck "has written a book as spare as a screenplay but fully novelistic in its language, imagery and psychological insight."

Departing from fiction, Franck produced Bohèmes, a French-language volume that in translation went under two titles. Known in the United Kingdom as The Bohemians: The Birth of Modern Art, Paris, 1900-1930, the book illustrates, noted Spectator critic William Feaver, "how notoriety arises, how legend develops, [and] how youthful poverty degenerates, with success, into tedious affluence." The great names of the Belle Époque—Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Alfred Jarry, Max Jacob—are intertwined in Franck's book. Published in the United States as Bohemian Paris: Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse, and the Birth of Modern Art, the work came under the scrutiny of a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who observed that the author seemingly wants to "lighten up . . . with a series of nonfiction anecdotes rife with novelistic invented dialogue" and saw "little conventionally grounded history among these yarns of brawls, food-fights [and] drunken disputes." Library Journal contributor Carol Binkowski, on the other hand, found more to like in the "marvelous and informative" Bohemian Paris. Binkowski remarked that the author is "especially good" at showing "how all these artists interacted while allowing them to remain individuals."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 1994, p. 994; February 15, 1997, pp. 1002-1003.

French Review, April, 1986, pp. 812-813.

Library Journal, January, 2002, Carol Binkowski, review of Bohemian Paris: Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse, and the Birth of Modern Art, p. 94.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 26, 1993, Richard Eder, review of La Separation, pp. 3, 7.

New York Times, January 21, 1994, Michiko Kakutani, review of La Separation, p. C27; March 21, 1997, Richard Bernstein, review of My Russian Love, p. B30.

New York Times Book Review, January 23, 1994, Elizabeth Benedict, review of La Separation, p. 10; March 9, 1997, Zofia Smardz, review of My Russian Love, p. 19.

Publishers Weekly, November 1, 1993, p. 66; December 30, 1996, review of My Russian Love, pp. 55-56; November 26, 2001, review of Bohemian Paris, p. 46.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, fall, 1992, Renee Kingcaid, review of La Separation, pp. 211-212.

Spectator, December 21, 1991, p. 80; October 20, 2001, William Feaver, review of The Bohemians: The Birth of Modern Art, Paris, 1900-1930, p. 54.

Washington Post Book World, February 13, 1994, Marian Winik, review of La Separation, p. 9.

World Literature Today, summer, 1981, John J. Lakich, review of Les Calendes grecques, p. 425.

ONLINE

e.Peak,http://www.peak.sfu.ca/ (December 30, 1997). Standard Times,http://www.s-t.com/ (December 30, 1997).*

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