FREDERIC BEIGBEDER 99 FRANCS PDF

Post a comment. The importance of 99 Francs which was the original price of the book, but now the title is the same as its price in euros, and of course it changes accordingly in translations is in its satire. Octave is a 'child of the millennium': he's in advertising, or 'novelty terrorism' as he terms it, and he's the central character in this novel, which begins as a professional suicide note so he can get the sack 'I don't have the balls to resign' and claim unemployment insurance. He hates his life and hates himself. Octave is overpaid and lives in a world where coke snorting is the norm, and when you ditch your chick you go to a high-class hooker — everyone and everything can be bought, we are all prostitutes: 'Don't look at the straw in your brother's nostril but the beam in your own pants': 'I'm in advertising: oh yeah, I pollute the universe. I'm the guy who sells you shit.

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In France, its title was 99 Francs. You get the idea. It is part of the denunciation which goes under the name of "novel", and is the cleverest thing about it. Not that it's meant to be clever: it's meant to be furious, and nasty, downed in one gulp like a shot of rough alcohol.

It's about, and mostly narrated by, one Octave Parengo, who works in a fictitious advertising agency in Soho in Paris in the original, but more about that later. He is writing this book, we learn, in order to get himself fired, and so claim his unemployment insurance. As it happens, Beigbeder was himself fired from his job with a real advertising agency after his bosses read 99 Francs, which is hardly surprising. But he now - this is his fourth novel - has achieved literary fame in France, and this book should do pretty well over here, so don't worry about him.

Actually, this built-in success is the cleverest thing about the book. The title is only the second-cleverest. The book is an attack on advertising, then. So he shouts at, and dumps, his girlfriend when she tells him she's pregnant; he does so much coke that he nearly drowns in his own nasal blood, while earlier on he writes lunatic slogans in the bogs at Damione, where he is discussing a campaign. His chat-up techniques have to be read to be imagined - they make the crudest of Loaded-style berks seem classy - and he earns far, far too much money.

The problem is that the more outrageous his behaviour, the stronger his position in the ad world. So far, so one-joke. And the problem with advertising - I should know, I once worked on its periphery - is that it really does corrode the stylistic tendons. Even through the miasma of translation you can tell that Beigbeder would love nothing more than for his book to be considered a successful synthesis of Bret Easton Ellis and Michel Houellebecq, with a good dash of William Burroughs.

But the real model is Celine, tellingly quoted here by one of the protagonists during the novel's climactic scene, the murder of a wealthy Miami resident. This is a howl of rage, and it works all the better for not having been lovingly crafted. Certainly, Beigbeder is not precious about his art.

The translator has moved the action from Paris to London, Octave's flat from St-Germain to Hoxton, and so on; can one imagine Houellebecq accepting such changes with equanimity? I doubt it. These geographical and cultural translations are by no means consistent or necessarily successful, by the way.

The range of literary reference is far greater in France than it would be in the UK. The idea of a London ad exec quoting Gramsci, let alone Cioran, is flatly unfeasible; and we do not, here, wear pink Ralph Lauren polo shirts with sweaters knotted over the shoulders.

Eurgh, that's so horrible. The worst thing is that Octave rails against the sweaters. But even these distractions don't harm the book's thrust; its disgust can be quite perceptive.

Of course, the French advertising industry is the most unintentionally hilarious on earth. You will recall their risible adverts for perfumes which arrive here around Christmas. Octave has very good reason to be ashamed of himself. But he and Beigbeder know their stuff.

So, for all its faults, I applaud the sincerity of its passion, its spirit of revolt, its attempt to alert us to the fact that everything is for sale, moronically and inescapably. Brand names and slogans are unaltered, left open to our contempt. Topics Books. Fiction reviews. Reuse this content. Most popular.

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Francs by Frédéric Beigbeder

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.

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ISBN 13: 9782702841761

The book follows Octave Parengo, [3] a successful copywriter that appears to have it all. Not only is his job going well, but he has surrounded himself with expensive material goods, beautiful women, and lots of cocaine. That easygoing life ends when he becomes disillusioned with his life and his job after a meeting with a client ends with him smearing the word "pigs" on the walls using his own blood. Jonathan Evans questioned the book's English translation, which changed the book's setting from France to England as well as changing francs to pounds.

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Ad execs quoting Gramsci? Only in France

A Parisian ad man is so disgusted by his craven, manipulative profession that he kills himself in "99 Francs. No, he doesn't. By Lisa Nesselson. Well, maybe he does. Predominantly young auds are turning out for the film, released Sept. Related Stories. All Octave ever wanted was to create ad campaigns.

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In France, its title was 99 Francs. You get the idea. It is part of the denunciation which goes under the name of "novel", and is the cleverest thing about it. Not that it's meant to be clever: it's meant to be furious, and nasty, downed in one gulp like a shot of rough alcohol.

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