|Product Details |
Scalo Verlag Ac
From Library Journal
Art historian and critic Parry (The Short Story and Photography 1880s-1980s: A Critical Anthology, Univ. of New Mexico, 1998) became obsessed with an album of graphic photographs depicting actual crimes scenes and victims in Paris at the turn of the last century. Taken mostly by Alphonse Bertillon, who largely created the modern practice of crime documentation and suspect identification, the photos are of historical importance. But Parry rejected a straightforward presentation of the material, writing several stories based on groupings of crime photos. Her style blends enough of the objective documentarian and the horrified observer to work perfectly. Her fictions elucidate the crucial moments in the lives of the victims and murderers, like the photos themselves, in gruesome detail, raising questions about the ability of photos to capture truth and our own capacity to understand a crime fully. The photographs themselves are so compelling and disturbing that it would be difficult to imagine a prose that could complement them, but here word and image serve each other well. An unusual addition for academic and large public crime and photography collections.
-Douglas McClemont, New York
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Voice Literary Supplement, December 2000
Parry’s oddly beautiful book aims for a more textured and gripping account, giving a rich internal life to these characters…
Proceeding from an intriguing photo album documenting some 30 murders committed in Paris between 1887 and 1902, Eugenia Parry has created a truly innovative work of historical narrative. At first glance it might appear as an ordinary collection of crime stories, but Parry has gone much further. Her well-trained eye analyzes the images, mostly taken by Alphonse Bertillon, a pioneer of criminal science working for Paris police. Based on extensive research into the crimes documented in the album she tells the stories which go beyond mere descriptions of crimes and motifs. Consciously oscillating between historical evidence and fiction, "Crime Album Stories" investigates in a great variety of styles the ever eluding question of why people commit capital crimes. Drawing on the description of Armand Cochefert, head of Paris police between 1888 and 1902 who investigated most of the crimes in this book, Parry shows that in contrast to entirely fictional crime novels such as Sherlock Holmes, the ultimate motivation for crimes often remains unintelligible and that in real life, many cases are never solved. Her innovative experimentation at the boundaries between art history and fiction has been widely admired