Born in France; married Joel Rose (a writer, publisher, and editor; divorced); children: two daughters.
Home—255 East 7th St., New York, NY 10009.
Author, 1978—. Editor, with Joel Rose, of Between C & D (literary magazine).
New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships; National Endowment for the Arts award.
(With Marie-Odile Vézina) Profession, prostituée: Rapport sur la prostitution au Québec, Libre expression (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1978.
Chloé l'Atlantique, Ramsey (Paris, France), 1983.
New York création, Autrement (Paris, France), 1984.
Love Me Tender, Viking (New York, NY), 1987.
(Editor, with Joel Rose) Between C & D: New Writing from the Lower East Side Fiction Magazine, Penguin (New York, NY), 1988.
(Translator) Delacorta, Alba, Atlantic/Entrekin, 1989.
Panic Blood, Viking (New York, NY), 1990.
(Editor, with Joel Rose) Love Is Strange: Stories of Postmodern Romance, W. W. Norton (New York, NY), 1993.
(Translator) Delacorta, The Rap Factor, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1993.
Breakup: The End of a Love Story (memoir), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1998.
Victorine, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2004.
Also contributor to periodicals and Web sites, including New York Times, Newsday, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Nerve.com.
Novelist, translator, and memoirist Catherine Texier has attracted critical notice for her command of both English and French prose. Her stories center on different characters' encounters with life, blood, and love. Beginning in the early 1980s, she edited with her then-husband, Joel Rose, the avant-garde fiction magazine Between C & D, which introduced an entire generation of new writers to the New York literary scene. Some of those stories were collected in the anthologies Between C & D: New Writing from the Lower East Side Fiction Magazine and Love Is Strange: Stories of Postmodern Romance. Denise Blank, writing in her Booklist review of the latter volume, declared that Rose and Texier collected the stories in Love Is Strange "with the hypothesis that romance can exist in postmodern literature despite the lack of happy endings." That theme could also be said to flow through most of Texier's own work.
Texier's first novel in English, Love Me Tender, was published in 1987, the year before the first collection of stories from Between C & D came out. The novel incorporates the stories of three women (Lulu, Mystique, and Salvine), at least two of them of French ancestry, like Texier herself. They immerse themselves in a quite decadent Manhattan sexual scene: sadomasochism, strip clubs, drug abuse, and other examples of outré promiscuity. "Sex is greedy and hysterical and no one appears to have heard of AIDS," wrote Victoria Radin in the New Statesman. Radin added, "Those open to literary experiment will enjoy Texier's linguistic fireworks and her dead-on depiction of souls adrift in the urban jungle of the 80's." Texier "was groomed in the tradition of Laclos, and Lulu is a practitioner of les liaisons dangereuses, " declared Emily Prager in the New York Times. "Perhaps Ms. Texier, like Lulu, is seducing and spurning us. In the fires of love, all get singed."
Panic Blood, Texier's next novel, "describes a woman's struggle against a world of surfaces where everything and everyone could conceivably disguise a threat," stated New York Times reviewer Scott Bradfield. The protagonist is another expatriate French-woman, Eva, who is raising her daughter in the turgid atmosphere of an apartment on Times Square, relying on a phone-sex business and a shaky singing career in local nightclubs for the money she needs. But her world is disrupted even further when her ex-lover shows up and kidnaps her daughter and a former phone-sex client begins stalking her. Texier "brings some native existentialism to this sexually frank tale of a torch singer living in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The author "has great taste and delicacy when writing about sex," declared New Statesman & Society contributor Elizabeth J. Young, "and combines powerful pornography with impeccably stylish sensual allure." "Panic Blood, " concluded Bradfield, "often sounds portentous when it most wants to sound wise, but that doesn't make its urban claustrophobia any less credible or its narrative intensity any less real."
Texier chronicles the end of her eighteen-year relationship with her husband and coeditor, Joel Rose, in Breakup: The End of a Love Story. In some ways the book is a chronicle of the last year of the marriage, telling about the lies and misdirection that precede the legal demise of the relationship. In other ways, it is Texier's own perspective on her rage and sense of loss. "Instead of winning us over to her cause with perspective and wit," Walter Kirn stated in his review of the book published in New York, "Texier treats her righteousness as unquestionable and bombards us, heavy-metal-style, with the squealing feedback of her moods." "Breakup, " declared Jenny Lyn Bader in the New York Times Book Review, "is a letter that one should write to one's ex but never send."
Victorine, published in 2004, deals with a different aspect of Texier's family history: it is based on the life of her great-grandmother, who deserted her husband and family to run off to the colonies with a customs officer at the end of the nineteenth century. Isolated in the jungles of Indochina and cut off from the society in which she was raised, the eponymous heroine is caught between her past and her present. Texier, wrote Starr E. Smith in Library Journal, "moves the action seamlessly back and forth between the aging Victorine's reminiscences in 1940 and her earlier adventures in coastal France and the Mekong Delta." "Lurking questions of empire and expansion lend an extra dimension to this bittersweet romance," said a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "reminiscent both of Madame Bovary and Duras's The Lover, making plain the temptations and risks of expanding beyond one's borders." "With lush, vivid description," declared Kristine Huntley in Booklist, "Texier brings to life both the world around Victorine and the woman herself."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Texier, Helen, Breakup: The End of a Love Story, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1998.
Booklist, March 1, 1993, Denise Blank, review of Love Is Strange: Stories of Postmodern Romance, p. 1156; April 1, 1993, Martha Schoolman, review of The Rap Factor, p. 1414; February 15, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Victorine, p. 1039.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1987, review of Love Me Tender, p. 511; February 1, 1990, review of Panic Blood, p. 138; July 15, 1998, review of Breakup, p. 1026; February 1, 2004, review of Victorine, p. 108.
Library Journal, February 15, 2004, Starr E. Smith, review of Victorine, p. 162.
New Statesman, December 25, 1987-January 1, 1988, Victoria Radin, "Tangled Lives," p. 46.
New Statesman & Society, August 16, 1991, Elizabeth J. Young, "Split Fabrics," p. 36.
New York, August 31, 1998, Walter Kirn, "Truth Hurts," pp. 156-57.
New York Times, June 7, 1987, Emily Prager, "Red High Heels and Smoke Stockings," section 7, p. 13; April 15, 1990, Scott Bradfield, "A Tabloid Life," section 7, p. 16; August 8, 1993, Randall Short, review of The Rap Factor, p. 20.
New York Times Book Review, August 30, 1998, Jenny Lyn Bader, review of Breakup, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, June 9, 1989, review of Alba, p. 58; January 11, 1993, review of Love Is Strange, p. 57; March 29, 1993, review of The Rap Factor, p. 34; March 15, 2004, review of Victorine, p. 55.*