Alfred Jarry provides many new facts, some pertinent analyses, and a clutch of outrageously amusing yarns.—Mark Polizzotti, Bookforum—
Alastair Brotchie brilliantly evokes the avant-garde artistic movements of fin-de-siecle Paris in all their glittering grubbiness.
Alfred Jarry: A Pataphysical Life by Alastair Brotchie is a superb chronicle of the life and times of the fin-de-siècle French writer.
—Times Literary Supplement — (Book of the Year 2011)
An enthralling, scrupulously researched, and elegantly written biography.
, The New York Review of Books
[Brotchie] gives us an unmatched and vivid picture of the belle epoque’s avant-garde, of which Jarry was an important, original part.
, The Guardian
…[Brotchie’s] tone is clear and informed, rooted in a familiarity with Jarry that has something quite personal about it, which is all for the good.
, Leonardo On-Line
Brotchie’s archival work and translations are meticulous…Highly recommended.—M. Gaddis Rose
[Brotchie] skilfully moves between providing a relatively straightforward and sympathetic account of the writer’s life and critically sorting through the narratives that have sustained and shaped the long-standing image of Jarry… Brotchie’s refusal to mythologise stands as the book’s greatest strength, and as a fitting testament to the manifold complexity of Alfred Jarry.
, 3:AM Magazine
How a schoolboy caricature evolved into Jarry’s best-known creation, his monstrous ‘every-man’, Père Ubu, is a fascinating story which Brotchie tells with impressive scholarship, sympathy and wit.
, The Spectator
Brotchie’s painstaking and drily funny biography is now the most ample account of Jarry and his importance that is available in our language; it is unlikely ever to be bettered.
, The Literary Review
That Jarry comes across as both more and less than we might expect from his reputation and his writings is a result of Brotchie so resolutely and expertly keeping his eye on the available facts and not allowing himself to wander into speculation and hero-worship.
, Rain Taxi