- Sunday, November 30, 2008
- Latest Review: "The Vampire of Ropraz" by Jacques Chessex « Three Percent
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Typically, also, Favez is no innocent; he had a terrible childhood and is something of a brute, but seems extremely unlikely to have been capable of these particular crimes -- but he does himself no favours when, briefly free again, he acts out in a way that certainly suggests he is as monstrous as the locals need to believe him to be. Chessex's account is often barely more than sketchy, adding to the sense of how much is unknown. There are no tidy answers here; everyone is complicit. In a sense this is a story beyond guilt or innocence, with even Favez's trial compressed into a listing of the "dates and number of sittings" of the court over the four days it lasted, with no mention or discussion of the evidence or testimony.
To Chessex those details, of how they decide Favez's guilt, are almost irrelevant, window-dressing that allows the locals to imagine they are done with the story -- though Chessex also doesn't show much outrage at Favez being made a scapegoat. Indeed, Chessex's indictment is comprehensive, extending to the entire small-town community: beyond, perhaps, the dead young women, there are no innocents here, there is only an environment of such deep rot that everything must suffer for it.
The horrific crimes seem entirely appropriate, the perfect manifestation of all that is wrong here. With echoes of Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz see The Young Man from Savoy but a far grimmer, harsher take on this small, Swiss world, The Vampire of Ropraz is an unsettling little curiosity -- so also in its final turn, describing Favez's fate, both in the shorter term and in its lasting final one. It almost seems too much to foist on the story, but Chessex makes it work quite well and it's distinctly possible that it's that curious final twist that made for the book's success among the French.
Graphic, grim, and disturbing, The Vampire of Ropraz is a worthwhile little oddity. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Contents: Main. The Vampire of Ropraz - US. The Vampire of Ropraz - UK. The Vampire of Ropraz - Canada. Le Vampire de Ropraz - Canada. The Vampire of Ropraz - India. As a child, Favez had been the victim of horrific abuse, first at the hands of his natural parents and then of his foster-parents, and as a result was more or less deranged sexually.
He was an ideal scapegoat, not least because his powerful physique, long canines and permanently reddened eyes matched well the standard image of a vampire. Favez was held in custody, suspected of violating the three dead women. But the concrete evidence against him was thin, and the consulting psychiatrist had serious doubts that he was the culprit. While in prison, he was visited several times by a mysterious veiled woman, who bribed the jailer to let her see Favez alone. It is uncertain what happened while they were together, but everything suggested that they had some kind of sexual relationship.
Favez was released after four months due to lack of evidence; the public, however, was convinced that he was the vampire, and he was forced to go into hiding. The balance of his mind, already seriously disturbed, can hardly have been improved by this. Several weeks later, he was apprehended a second time, when he tried to rape a widow who apparently had flirted with him on a few occasions.
This time, there was no chance of his being released. The trial only took five days, and ended with him being given a life sentence. The psychiatrist persuaded the court that it could be served at his hospital. Favez stayed there for fifteen years, until he finally escaped one day, and headed over the French border. He served with them for a few months, became friendly with his commanding officer, and told him his story. Shortly after, the Germans launched a major offensive on that part of the front. During the fighting, the officer was seriously wounded, and Favez was killed.
His body was left lying on the field of battle, and never recovered. For reasons best known to themselves, people with access to DNA testing equipment decided to try and determine who the Unknown Soldier really was. They searched their gene databases, and, as you no doubt guessed, came to a surprising conclusion. I'm not sure how much of this is true; clearly not all of it. Snow, blood, sex, violence, insanity, the soldier's art. It's a powerful story. It probably shouldn't have reminded me of Mary's wedding, but it did. As far as I know, she's still happily married.
Dec 04, Heather Shaw rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Book clubs. From below, all day long, comes the sound of chopping and metal on concrete. The few people on the streets walk with their shoulders hunched into collars and faces obscured by scarves. I can see my car from here, growing a toupee of white, the interior vinyl collecting its special frostiness. A small city, but nonetheless convivial. Superstition drifts harmlessly in the garden dream-catchers and cement angels of liberal townies.
The regional paper tells another story — one of generational alcoholism, incest, fundamentalism, the desire for the destruction of culture and the longing to survive by tooth and folklore. A drive to the nearest major ski resort 30 minutes takes you past homes sided with black plastic, ancient peeling doublewides, windowless cinderblock bars, and tiny isolated stores that sell gas and the smoked flesh of the local wildlife.
Backwoods people live day-to-day, scrap to scrap. Most of them were born in the place; some have been pushed there, like to the end of a rope; a few have invented the place for themselves. Which is all a long introduction to the kind of chill of the suspected-unknown The Vampire or Ropraz , short novel by Prix Goncourt winner Jacques Chessex, produced. High in the Jurat mountains, the twenty-year old daughter of a local dignitary dies of meningitis and is buried in the frozen February earth.
Two days later her grave is discovered open, the coffin unscrewed. Immediately, he joins the Foreign Legion he was rejected by the army in his youth, in his own country and is killed seven months later on the Souain road. Recent DNA research suggests that the body of the soldier who lies beneath the Arc de Triumph is none other than Charles-Augustin Favez, convicted in Switzerland of vampirism and desecration of graves.
And the question is, how could this man be a monster in one place and a hero in another? The Vampire of Ropraz is a superb choice for fiesty book clubs. Jun 21, Kate rated it liked it Shelves: age-adult , , horror , vampires. I grabbed this as it was returned to the library, hoping it would be about a vampire, as the title indicates. It's actually a translation of a Swiss novella, and not quite about vampires In , several recently deceased young women are found with their bodies VERY perversely defiled if you don't like gore or graphic descriptions of murder, don't read this book!
The serial killer is called "The Vampire of Ropraz," and is later found to be a young man who was violently and sexually abused a I grabbed this as it was returned to the library, hoping it would be about a vampire, as the title indicates. The serial killer is called "The Vampire of Ropraz," and is later found to be a young man who was violently and sexually abused as a child also graphically described.
Sure, he buggers farm animals, but does that mean he's the vampire-killer? Who knows. And there are no actual vampires in this story. Sort of bizarrely interesting, but I was really looking forward to a vampire story. Jun 13, Kirk Johnson rated it really liked it. So this is what happens when the Swiss write horror. Sep 23, Jae rated it liked it Shelves: horror. I liked the spare, stark telling of this tale. Jan 31, Jim rated it liked it. To satisfy the crowd. Everyone deserves a fair trial. Modern-day Ropraz is a municipality in the district of Broye-Vully in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.
Dwellings often scattered over wastelands hemmed in by dark trees, cramped villages with squat houses. Ideas have no currency, tradition is a dead weight, and modern hygiene is unknown. Avarice, cruelty, superstition—we are not far from the border with Fribourg, where witchcraft is rampant. They hang themselves a lot in the farms of the Haut-Jorat.
In the barn. From the ridge-beam. It is no kind of life. How can you be sure? You were too far away to see him. I have to ask. You get the idea. In this instance the setting and the background is far more interesting. What Chessex presents is a vivid picture of life in and around Ropraz. Foul things, dark and unspoken. Ancient, furtive fornications in stables and cowsheds. Repeated cruelty to crazed animals. Meditated murders. Long-harboured vengeance. You might rightly ask: How could people clearly culpable of many things suddenly feel so righteous? Miscarriages of justice are no less uncommon nowadays which makes this book, rather than being an historical oddity and an uncomfortable read nothing is left to the imagination , more relevant now than you might at first think.
Oh, the irony! Aug 30, Bill Lawrence rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction. By any standards an unusual writer. A prose poem about a strange case of mutilated, recently buried bodies of young girls in early 20th century Switzerland. This isn't about the crime, or the victims or an investigation of who did what.
It is a view of society of rural poverty and superstition and the need to blame, even the celebrity of notoriety creeps in. But above everything it is an wonderful piece of writing, to be devoured at at single sitting and then re-read to pick up further nuance, m By any standards an unusual writer.
But above everything it is an wonderful piece of writing, to be devoured at at single sitting and then re-read to pick up further nuance, meaning and delight in some extraordinary sentences. Some would call it a novella, some do call it a novel, but it is really an exquisite long short story.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Nov 30, Jennifer Avila rated it did not like it Shelves: , works-in-translation. Quick and dirty, on all levels. I was done with it before I'd even started; so much more could have been done with a 'based on historical events' plot. I saw glimpses of merit, of exploring the prejudice and insular nature of tiny communities. But only the tiniest glimpses.
More than anything, the novel seemed keen to indulge in the retelling of sexually graphic necrophilia maybe that's the only kind?! And the ending Jan 14, TheVampireBookworm rated it it was ok Shelves: vampire-books. I bet you've come across one of those ultimate book lists - books sorted by their importance, chronology, success and so on.
I've seen a book list of vampire books no one reads. That sounded bizarre enough how can the author of the article know about the books if they are not read? It's really difficult to obtain them since they are no longer in print but I'm positive I'll get them all and find out wh I bet you've come across one of those ultimate book lists - books sorted by their importance, chronology, success and so on. It's really difficult to obtain them since they are no longer in print but I'm positive I'll get them all and find out why no one reads them.
Its length isn't at fault because it reaches one hundred pages so you are done with it in no time, therefore why not read it, right? I think it is due to its lack of the vampires we are used to nowadays. This fake Gothic story covers events which supposedly happened more than one hundred years ago and the events are similar to what was actually happening at that time - that is pointing at mentally ill and saying they were vampires.
This story uses the word vampire as our ancestors used it - they just didn't know they weren't dealing with what we now call vampires but rather with odd individuals. And I thing that's a major turnoff for many readers. The other thing can be the language. I'm not sure how much was lost in translation, but I guess what was supposed to be a little poetic the sentence structures are a bit different somehow doesn't work in English.
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- Der Einkaufsbummel (German Edition).
The story has very interesting traits to it it is always a thrill if you add a lunatic in the mix but the events go unexplained, the facts are stated as if by a robot with almost no sense for details. So it wasn't altogether a bad book considering it was probably an attempt at early vampire Gothic works Carmilla isn't that detailed either if I remember correctly but somehow it's too swift, too dull and when you start enjoying it it's suddenly over.
Nov 12, Pete Young rated it really liked it. It starts out lucidly and almost frighteningly atmospheric, with the mountainous landscape harbouring isolated villages rife with superstition and Calvinist doctrine, and when a possible suspect is found the rule of law comes a poor second to the prejudices of the local people and the courts. A brief but memorable novella. Jul 17, Stephen rated it liked it Shelves: More of a short story than a novel even novella , Chessex's take on a series of brutal attacks on corpses in the region around Ropraz in Switzerland is remarkable mainly for the manner in which the author chooses to relate his story.
All the elements of a classic gothic tale are present: defilement recently buried corpses being dug up and mutilated , superstition the Calvinists of the area quickly return to Catholic habits during the period of panic over the existence of the "vampire" , myste More of a short story than a novel even novella , Chessex's take on a series of brutal attacks on corpses in the region around Ropraz in Switzerland is remarkable mainly for the manner in which the author chooses to relate his story.
All the elements of a classic gothic tale are present: defilement recently buried corpses being dug up and mutilated , superstition the Calvinists of the area quickly return to Catholic habits during the period of panic over the existence of the "vampire" , mystery, hysteria, and gruesomeness children are found playing "ball" with a severed head.
Rather than indulging in sensationalism of voice, not plot - there's plenty of sensationalism in the plot , Chessex's narrative voice varies between clinical and personal, approaching and pulling away from the events and characters populating the novel. The effect of this narrative mode is disconcerting - we are alternately tossed into the midst of these events and then left standing outside of them.
Much has been made of the clever twist in the last chapter, but there are really two twists - one that may be missed by the casual reader and one that is almost humorously improbable. Mar 01, Stephen Durrant rated it it was ok. This bucket of blood and well-masticated flesh is not my cup of tea, to mix metaphors. Jacques Chessex is, to be sure, a skilled writer with a trim, strong style, and his tale of blood and horror in the Swiss Jura in the early part of this century holds a certain perverse fascination.
The story, which is actually a retelling of an actual event, leads to a final clever but somewhat twisted joke, which I will not reveal to avoid a spoiler alert. I spent some time in the French Jura last summer-- This bucket of blood and well-masticated flesh is not my cup of tea, to mix metaphors. I spent some time in the French Jura last summer--a beautiful place. I'll try to remember next time not to wander across the Swiss border. Jul 16, Candace rated it did not like it.
I read the English translation. It seemed to be roughly translated so that while parts were almost poetic, other parts were just difficult to understand and The story itself was lost in the confusion and after just finishing it now I feel as if I totally missed the entire point. I wish I could read French because I believe the translation was mostly to blame.
Then again, some of the gruesome bits I would not like to read again in any language. If you I read the English translation. If you don't read French, I recommend passing this one by. It was a waste of the past two hours of my life. Apr 20, Dana rated it it was amazing.
I finished two books today: one about the city and one about the country. They are both about squalor and isolation. It's that kind of day. This one is the country book, and it is elegant.
Latest Review: "The Vampire of Ropraz" by Jacques Chessex « Three Percent
It's a filthy topic but a very clean book. No sloppy extra words, no bizarre tangents. But I would never reread it. This makes me wonder on what basis I am assigning sta I finished two books today: one about the city and one about the country.
This makes me wonder on what basis I am assigning stars. Aug 07, Helen Damnation rated it did not like it. The dust cover promises a "lyrical tale of fear and cruelty" and "a dose of poetry, of the aesthetics of sin, and of the metaphysics of the monster". I am perfectly willing to believe these things can be found in the original language, but in the translation much seems to be lost.
I read an interesting though shallow narrative of events, but even then it wasn't until the last page that I was given the information to understand why this tale might be interesting. Aug 27, Bill Peschel rated it it was amazing. A novella more than a novel, this gritty story of a body snatcher of ravishes corpses of young women in s Switzerland is a bracing dip into paranoia, fear, despicable lust and degradation humans can get up to, especially of they live in a benighted fundamentalist land.
Jacques Chessex was a Swiss writer, so this is well worth checking out if you're in the mood for a darker vision tinged with the otherness that a writer from another culture can bring.
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Jul 08, Maggie rated it liked it. I grabbed this off the library shelf on a whim, thinking it was a trashy teenage vampire novella I could read while on vacation. I paid the price for my ignorance. The book is about rape, mutilation, small-town horrors and superstitions. I guess it's good for what it is, but I was so off-put by the subject matter it was hard to appreciate what I'm sure was mood-setting prose. Lesson learned -- no more blindly grabbing at vampire books for me. Jul 02, Frank rated it it was ok Shelves: horror , french , switzerland.
More of a crime thriller than a horror story, and not about vampires at all also, barely a novel at a soft pages. It's and the Swiss countryside is rocked by a series of horrific, cannibalistic attacks on recently buried young women. But the story is told through an oddly detached omniscient POV that reads more like a news account. There's lots of graphic violence and sexual abuse and some sort of twist at the end.