|A Conversation with Pierre Guyotat|
Conversation in French and English
Hailed as the last great avant-garde visionary of the 20th century, Pierre Guyotat has been one of France's most controversial literary figures since his homoerotic account of the Algerian War appeared in the mid-1960s. His 1971 novel Eden, Eden, Eden was partially banned in France, but championed by artists and writers as diverse as Jean-Paul Sartre, Roland Barthes, Joseph Beuys, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italo Calvino and Simone de Beauvoir.
Coma, first published in France in 2006, chronicles the crisis that wracked Guyotat when, after searching for new forms of language, he entered a mental clinic and fell into a coma induced by self-starvation. His "disappearance" becomes a transcendent struggle against physical need and the body itself. As Gary Indiana notes in his preface, "This text, which eludes any category of literature, is an unexampled effusion of tenderness ... an immolated 'I' existing in what remains when the habitual comforts and distractions of false consciousness have been ripped away: 'a voice that tears off its bandages.'" Grounded in childhood experiences and his family's role in the French Resistance, Coma revisits a lifetime of moments with amazement and brilliance.
Pierre Guyotat (born 1940) received the 2006 Prix Décembre and is the author of nine novels. His book Eden,Eden, Eden was nominated for the Prix Medici. When Guyotat was not awarded the prize, Nobel winner Claude Simon resigned from the Medici jury.
"Pierre Guyotat is the most original writer alive."—Philippe Sollers
"... violent, transgressive and inspired...the last great avant-garde visionary of the 20th century." —Edmund White