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Roche, Maurice 1925–

Roche, Maurice 1925–

PERSONAL: Born November 4, 1925, in Clermont-Ferrand, France; son of Gabriel Roche (engineer) and Louise Bonnefille. Education: Lycée du Parc à Lyon, Collège de Cusset, bachelor's degree.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Les Impressions Nouvelles, Paris-Bruxelles, 12 reu du Président, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium.

CAREER: Writer. Previously worked as a journalist, race-car test driver, composer for stage and concerts, and actor.

MEMBER: PEN Club (France).


Alfred de Vigny et l'ésotérisme, Éditions du Jardin de la France (Blois, France), 1948.

Art roman et renaissance au tombeau de Ronsard, Éditionis du Jardin de la France (Tours, France), 1950.

Balzac et la philosophe inconnu, Gibert-Clarey (Tours, France), 1951.

Goethe et Frédérique Brion, I.O.P. (Strasbourg, France), 1957.

Monteverdi (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1959, reprinted, 1986.

Compact: roman (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1966, published in English as Compact, Dalkey Archive Press (Elmwood Park, IL), 1988, original edition reprinted with original colors, La Petite Éole, 1996.

Circus: roman (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1972.

(With Paolo Boni) Ça!, R.L.D. (Paris, France), 1973.

Codex: roman (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1974.

Opéra bouffe: roman (novel; title means "Comic Opera"), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1975.

Mémoire: roman (novel), P. Belfond (Paris, France), 1976, reprinted, Tristam, 2000.

(With Raymond Federman) The Voice in the Closet, (includes Echos by Roche), Coda Press (Madison, WI), 1979, reprinted, Meyer & Meyer (Oxford, England), 2001.

(With Raymond Federman) Echos (includes The Voice in the Closet by Federman), Coda Press (Madison, WI), 1979.

Macabré: ou triumphe de haulte intelligence, Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1979.

(With Arman) Le traité du violon: Lithographies et Gravures Originales de Arman, A. Rambert (Paris, France), 1979.

Maladie, mélodie: roman (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1980.

Camar(a)de, Arthaud (Paris, France), 1981.

Écritures, Carte Blanche (Montmorency, France), 1985.

Je ne vais pas bien, mais il faut que j'y aille: roman (novel), Seuil (Paris, France), 1987.

Clauzel: Peinture (exposition publication), Galerie Annie Lagier (L'Isle-sur-la Sorgue, France), 1989.

Qui n'a pas vu Dieu n'a rien vu: zapping (novel), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1990.

Fidèles félidés, Cadex Éditionis (Saussines, France), 1992.

Grande humoresque opus 27 (fiction), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1997.

(With Edouard Glissant) Un petit rien-du-tout tout neuf plié dans une feuille de persil, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1997.

Pardonnez-moi, mon fils, Clémence Hiver Éditeur (Sauve, France), 1997.

Also author of François Villon: fils du Loire, [Tours, France], c. 1949. Contributor to Sorbonne, Editions Fata Morgana (Paris, France), 1968. Contributor to many journals and periodicals in France.


Testament, Sontexte (Paris, France), 1979.

Eine Liebesgeschichte (fiction), Artalect (Paris, France), 1984.

SIDELIGHTS: French novelist Maurice Roche gained widespread attention with his 1966 debut novel Compact: roman, which was later published in English. Roche drew on his background as a musical composer to structure the novel with alternative narratives, each with a specific voice, tense, and typeface. The story revolves around a blind, dying man who uses his imagination and more to create erotic sensations as he deals with a doctor who seeks the man's tattooed skin. Mark Amerika, writing in the American Book Review, noted: "The text's interweavings make reading a literal blast." The story, he concluded, "opens you up to an alternate structure where everything is permitted." A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the novel "is not for everyone, but should please fanciers of the literary underground." In a review for Choice, R. Runyon called the book "a difficult yet very significant work."

Mémoire: roman is a novel about a writer who is on sabbatical after getting a grant from the French government. The result of his work during that time is a book titled Mémoire. As the story tries to unfold, the reader encounters "incessant interruption of translations, phone calls, letters,… bodily processes and scatological metaphors," wrote James Leigh in the French Review, adding that the interruptions "force us to accept the text as disruption per se." Leigh also noted that "not all will get the joke, it is a book that must be actively read."

Roche ruminates about life and especially death as he reflects on several macabre works of art in Camar(a)de. M.A. Caws, writing in World Literature Today, noted: "It is Roche's vibrant imagination that holds all this together in page after page of sketch and counter-sketch."



Paris, Jean, Maurice Roche (includes selections of Roche's poems), Seghers (Paris, France), 1989.


American Book Review, September-October, 1989, Mark Amerika, review of Compact: roman, p. 13.

Choice, June, 1989, R. Runyon, review of Compact, p. 1688.

French Review, April, 1977, Dina Sherzer, review of Opéra bouffe, pp. 814-815; December, 1977, James Leigh, review of Mémoire: roman, pp. 335-336; May, 1989, Laurence Enjolras, review of Je ne vais pas bien, mais il faut que j'y aille, pp. 1100-1101.

Publishers Weekly, September 9, 1998, review of Compact, p. 120.

World Literature Today, winter, 1983, M.A. Caws, review of Camar(a)de, p. 68.

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