van Cauwelaert, Didier 1960-
van CAUWELAERT, Didier 1960-
PERSONAL: Born 1960, in Nice, France.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Other Press LLC, 307 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1807, New York, NY 10001.
AWARDS, HONORS: Prix Goncourt, 1994, for Un aller simple; Prix Roger Nimier, 1982, for Poisson d'amour; Gutenberg prize, 1987, for Les vacances du fantôme; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, American Theatre Wing, 2003, for Amour; Grand Prix, Theatre de l'Academie Française, for life's work.
Vingt ans et des poussieres (novel; title means "Twenty Something"), Seuil (Paris, France), 1982.
Poisson d'amour (novel; title means "Fish of Love"), Seuil (Paris, France), 1984.
L'astronome (play), Actes Sud (Paris, France), 1984.
(With Richard Caron) Madame et ses flics, A. Michel (Paris, France), 1985.
Les vacances du fantôme (novel), Seuil (Paris, France), 1986.
Le nègre (play), Actes Sud (Paris, France), 1986.
L'orange amère (novel; title means "Bitter Orange"), Seuil (Paris, France), 1988.
Un objet en souffrance (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1991.
Cheyenne (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1993.
Un aller simple (novel; title means "One-Way Ticket"), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1994, translation by Mark Polizzotti published as One-Way: A Novel, Other Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Noces de sable (play), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1995.
La vie interdite (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1997.
Corps étranger (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1998.
(Author of libretto) Le passe-muraille (musical; title means "The Man Who Goes through Walls"; adapted from the novella by Marcel Aymé), produced in Paris, France, 1998.
La demi-pensionnaire (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 1999.
L'éducation d'une fee (title means "The Education of a Fairy"), A. Michel (Paris, France), 2000.
L'apparition (novel; title means "The Apparition"), A. Michel (Paris, France), 2001.
Rencontre sous X (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 2002.
(Author of libretto) Amour (one-act musical; adapted from author's play Le passe-muraille), produced on Broadway, 2002.
Hors de moi (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 2003, translation by Mark Polizzotti published as Out of My Head: A Novel, Other Press (New York, NY), 2004.
L'evangile de Jimmy (novel), A. Michel (Paris, France), 2004.
Also author of screenplays for film and television.
Author's novels have been translated into twenty languages.
ADAPTATIONS: Un aller simple was adapted for film by Laurent Heynemann in 2001. Film rights were sold for L'education d'une fee and L'apparition.
SIDELIGHTS: Didier van Cauwelaert is a prolific French novelist who has also worked in theater, writing the librettos for musicals such as Amour, for which he received an Antoinette Perry Award nomination. The author won France's most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt, in 1994 for his novel Un aller simple. Published in English translation in 2003 as One-Way, the satirical novel tells the story of nineteen-year-old Aziz Kemal, an immigrant who has false Moroccan papers but who is really the son of French parents who were killed in a car crash. He is rescued from the crash and raised by Gypsies. Eventually, the government decides to deport him to Morocco because of his forged identity papers. On the way to Morocco, Aziz ends up forming a strong bond with a diplomat who accompanies him.
Writing in Booklist, Carrol Haggas called One-Way, a "strikingly simple, yet mesmerizing, exploration of faith and friendship, desperation and determination." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that, "In Morocco, the novel blooms deliciously into a buddy flick, a road trip, a love triangle and a metafictional comment on the reliability of narrators." In a review in Library Journal, Mark Andre Singer called the novel "metafiction at its best: an insightful yarn that offers humor and sympathy rather than merely clever stylistics."
Among van Cauwelaert's other novels is L'apparition, which focuses on a young ophthalmologist who becomes involved in political intrigue and maneuverings when she is asked to examine an image of the Virgin that supposedly appeared on an Aztec Indian tunic in the early sixteenth century.
Van Cauwelaert told CA: "Writing is a second way of breathing for me! A need to alter the world and change identity in order to live destinies other than mine, from the inside.
"I dream my stories before I write them, I build a plan, I use different coloured felt-tip pens at each rewriting, then I put it all on the computer for the final corrections. I can work fifteen hours a day, but with trees all around me and complete silence. First I invent, then I check, doing lots of research.
"Often, things I have imagined really do happen, and afterwards I meet the characters I have created. I like to make my readers dream by disturbing them, awakening their lucidity and their love of life with laughter and emotion.
"Of all my books, my favourite is always the latest one, then the next."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Record Guide, March-April, 1998, Richard Traubner, review of Le passe-muraille, p. 32.
Booklist, October 15, 2003, Carol Haggas, review of One-Way, p. 387.
Daily Variety, October 21, 2002, Charles Isherwood, review of Amour, p. 2.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2004, review of Out ofMy Head.
Library Journal, October 15, 2003, Mark Andre Singer, review of One-Way, p. 96.
Publishers Weekly, review of One-Way, p. 46.
USA Today, November 15, 1994, "And the Winner Is," p. A9.
Village Voice, October 23-29, 2002, Michael Feingold, review of One-Way, p. 64.
Washington Post, May 13, 2003, "Tony Award Nominees," p. C5.
Didier van Cauwelaert Home Page,http://www.van-cauwelaert.com (August 25, 2004).