Impressions about the Book of Boz

- The search for the rightest word, the most accurate, from the quietest to the strongest.

- The air is vibrating with a strange light, between glittering and dark flames.

- Blood, death, Devil, hell, etc. are covered with writing or, more precisely, with the ink of writing.

- This book shows a kind of torrid beauty, striped with scars, a pier to hope, a cemetery of burned dreams.

- The author is working hardt to imagine the litterature to which he offers a reprieve.

- This book can’t lack readers.

- Laughs, fears, tears, angers are always fecund

- The narrator can embody all his characters, real or virtual, human and mineral, vegetal or animal.

- This string of short stories, going from story to story, without being history, would be one of the most beautiful ones, if it was only the fruit of imagination. But the writer knows you can’t escape history’s claws; they eat you away but can also sharpen your pen. More, the writer sculpts space where reality is apparent until the style devices.

- It’s an off-screen account. An account trying to probe wounds.

- The writer can make the difference between a litterary essay and a scathing attack thrown away.

- Powerful writing that doesn’t exclude elegance in service of rage.

- An insoluble puzzle and it’s right. A puzzle composed of this hero’s song key whose behaviour is painted with gentle strokes.

- As an erudite expert, he reworks myths. The work is monumental.

- The spirituality or the death ; anyway, only spirituality could one day deliver men from their sad condition.

- Dramatic action, in the Greek meaning, for better or for worse.

- The writer, sparkling with mischief, knows human soul’s fragility better than anyone.

- The work invits us, like the mermaids’ song, and we enter it with delight.

- The irony is sometimes scathing but never cynical.

- An account ? Better : a string of characters and events. We meet…

- The virtuosic writer creates an hurly-burly from the world, then dares to shove history.

- With this or these phantasmagorias, he presents us History as very close of the people’s life.

- The cut up movement of the accounts subverts the genre of this monumental work, animated with a certain logic, presented in a true litterary whirlpool, with the disconcerting style of weaved legends.

- Here, there is no end to History. The experience is everyday where surprise comes stunningly. Another way of questioning the reader and the interlocutor.

- An intimate book going universal, gliding from a world to another.

- This work’s life comes within the long term; the book is there and we can take it whenever we want. This way, it becomes revolutionary.

- A labyrinth of deep considerations, social, political, religious, mystical, philosophical, flirting with metaphysics. Fine art.

- It’s life, with its joys and blues, hopes, spleens and death.

- The writer is tirelessly probing mankind’s open wounds, which can be, as shown by Stoics, as many open doors on hope.

- He connects Antiquity (story, heroes, time, events, …) to authenticity; a very modern authenticity.

- His strength lies in the research and analysis of the facts and discourses, which he dismantles, searching for truth in avoiding to be lost causes’ lawyer.

- A rendez-vous experts shouldn’t miss, on no account; for these words are to litterature what dreams are to life : some essential narrow escapes and aspirations. With them, we dive in the deepest of existence, where the quiet laught and the stealth tear are born.

- We travel through these words which, unider his pen, get their golden glow back.

- His worlds arise, meet, fight, die in a rythmed topology which provokes images and catch gazes.

- An extraordinary care for details caused by an exaggerated sensibility.

- J. F. gives shape, suspens or short story, to what is indescribable. To this impossible, he gives a voice.The multiple fictions succeed in representing what is enexpressible, on the fringe of which he stands. And even if lyrism sometimes wins, there is any self-stisfaction, never. Reality is there, atrociously human.

- But the characters may be real or fictitious, the work is gripping, the fresco has a powerful narrative scope, from which sours an attentive and continuous ethics. Indeed, the psychoanalyst knows the “feeling” can lie. That’s why, when it’s a matter of feelings, we see the writer delicately as walking on water lilies ; even and especially, when it’s about evil, suffering men are causing to each others. Men whom destinies are in the same time closed and to come, impressed by the persistent hauntings from their childhood.

- This text, rich as educational, is a true universe in perpetual movement. We could even pretend it’s a founding hypertext. The differents accounts occur linearly but fragmentarily – we can reorganize them as we will because we will never lose our way in this network of singular responding associations. We can enter the Book of Boz by any paragraph and leave it by other associations, as matches, fire, hell, chains, etc. The metaphor can call or give birth to adjacent texts, to which we are invited. Surprise wait for us at any moment. Surprise in the text, Surprise out of the text, intimate surprise or not.

- A great book which, if you can read it right, is endless… a work eventually.

- We all need to believe in an hero but even the greatest ones are far from perfection.


My thoughts about the Book of Boz

If we intend to compare and confront the Book of Boz to monuments of literature, three masterworks can be invoked right away. (Many others could probably be examined, from Goethe to Nietzsche or Kafka, through Nerval and even Proust…, but choices have to be made).

Here are these three elected works, in my opinion, seemingly responding to the complexity of the Book of Boz :

The Divine Comedy (1314-1320) by Dante (1265-1321), Don Quixote (1605-1615) by Cervantes (1547-1616) and finally, more recenty and maybe less known too, Albert Cohen’s (1895-1981) fiction work, which builds up in its whole, like Julien Friedler’s, an one and only always rewritten book, indeed even a cycle, formed by Solal (1930), Mangeclous (1938), Belle du Seigneur (1968) and Les Valeureux (1969). (For the record, Les Valeureux was a part of Belle du Seigneur; the publisher Gallimard arbitrarily choosed to separate them, duplicating the author’s dilemna, quartered between the goy world and his dear tribe’s one, in the intend of reducing the already substantial amount of pages of Belle du Seigneur).

The first evidence, the first connection between these four books is that we follow the story of a hero, a man reaching “the middle of his life”, battling against madness (distraction, a moral, intellectual or religious crisis,…) and love. Excessive idealization (which can also lead to its contrary) of the beloved woman (Dante and Beatrice; Don Quixote and Dulcinea; Solal and Adrienne, Aude, Ariane; Adam and Marguerite). They also share a mutual experience and interrogative approach of the world. An inner as geographical travel. A religious course. They also deal with trial, settlings of scores, with yourself or with others. Dante is a dispenser of justice, he welts with flames and damns as Julien Friedler reveals acting crooks on the eve of the 3rd millenium. Jose Bové, Jacques Chirac or José Saramago, among others, are present and vilified in the Book of Boz. These are works written in the individual history as well than our common History. From Dante’s Inferno to the world described in the Book of Boz, there is an obvious kinship. Hell is omnipresent in the Boz and its evocations of religion wars, French Revolution, Shoah, and even the World Trade Center kamikazes and the following al Qaïda attacks. The Boz is a world crowded with all kinds of corpses and horrors. We find in Don Quixote the prisonner’s account (a mise en abyme just as the L’ombre du Rabbin tales inserted in the Boz) reminding of Cervantes’ participation to the famous Lepante battle and his prisonner condition; we must also recall this episode, a kind of bad daydreaming, in Belle du Seigneur, where Solal, having his back to the wall because of History, joins up with the midget Rachel in her cave in Berlin, to share the persecuted Jews’ lot.

In her introduction to the Dante’s Inferno bilingual edition, Jacqueline Risset wrote :

“Precisely, what always made Inferno so fascinating, even in times when the rest of the work had become almost beyond understanding, it’s the radicalism of an imaginary world, which prooved itself able to transform a series of separate and repetitive representations (…) in a mysterious architecture, extremely varied and deeply unitary at once, and fully original comparing to previous stories and visions.”

These words I underlined in bold sound to have been written about the Book of Boz, which wager to be fully original “comparing to previous stories and visions”, almost 700 years after Dante. The plastic dimensions of the Book of Boz build up, as far as I know, a unique creation in literature to date.

Another Divine Comedy “review”, by the French writer Frederic Ozanam (1813-1853), great expert in Dante’s work, seemed to fit, in my opinion, surprinsingly smoothtly to the Book of Boz :

“ In a way, Divine Comedy is the compound result of every Middle Age conceptions, each one of which resulting in turn from a long work carried on through christian, arab, alexandrian, latin and greek schools and started on Orient sanctuaries. It would matter to follow this long genealogy. It would matter to know how many centuries and generations, how many unknown wakings, how many thoughts wearily gained, then left behind, resumed, transformed, were needed to make such a book possible : its price, and ,accordingly, its worth.”

This excerpt reminds me of the huge encyclopedic knowledge, held and revised in the Book of Boz, a kind of poetic visionary synthesis of the current world (cf L’Europe en péril ou le monde du fantasme – Europe in peril or the world of fantasy), encompassing the former experiences.

There is also an analogy between Boz’s scribe and Dante, “the divine substance scribe”, whose book will be the sign and the result of his mission. From time to time, Dante stops his wonderful travel to think about the book, still to be written, asking himself if he will have the force to sustain the final heartbreaking vision, and suddenly understanding the only way to reach the unbearable experience is to go further into it and to write it. There is also talk of the Book of Boz inside the Book of Boz itself, of its writing, its possible forgery and even its proofreading. As in Don Quixote, where we hear about the book telling Don Quixote and Sancho Panza’s famous adventures through Spain and about the forgery of the Second Book published in 1614.

Solal’s world (Solal from the Solals, rabbi Gamaliel’s son, whose uncle Saltiel asks himself if he is the Messiah) is deeply dichotomic. On one side, he grows in Goy society (Genevan gentry, upward mobility within the League of Nations) and lusts for the western woman while, on the other side, the Valourous troop, Solals’ younger branch (composed of his uncle Saltiel, Mangeclous, Michael, Mathatias and Salomon), springs up to remind him of his belonging to the Chosen People.

In the Book of Boz, our three stooges (Jack Balance, Ego and Scribe) would be equivalent to the Valourous for Solal, to Sancho Panza for Don Quixote or eventually Virgile for Dante.

They are there to guide the hero, to remind him of his condition, his conscience, a kind of Jiminy Cricket.

The Book of Boz tells Adam Smith’s tragic story, fighting his demons like Dante in Inferno or Solal trapped by the deadly love.

There is also the humorous tone, brought by Sancho Panza, the Valourous or many Boz characters, slightly lightening tragedy. Their colorful side is underlined and emphasizes hero’s loneliness (Solal : a “solar” and “sole” name at once). A self-victim hero, victim of his own desires, attempting to invent or restore a lost self-protective world, wherein he would feel out of danger, but which leads him to his fate though. Adam Smith, human too human, who tries to survive in a shattered world by creating his own self-sustaining universe to keep the control of an escaping life back.

Don Quixote : knighthood’s world ; Solal : in camera love.

Adam Smith : origin world.


By Sandrine Rochez, co-founder of « La Moire »


“Le Boz selon…”

Le Boz est riche, si riche que chacun y entre par son propre chemin, y trouve une voie singulière, suivant les pas du hasard ou ceux de l’intuition.

Le Boz est une forêt, un arbre y cache les autres, tous les autres, à tour de rôle, puis on y voit plus clair et la multiplicité se révèle.

Une forêt c’est un peuple : un homme qui naît ici, un homme qui meurt là, et c’est un arbre qu’on plante et qui pousse, l’histoire a vu ça.

Le créateur du Boz cherche son peuple. Il plante et cultive, fait croître le fruit de son travail. C’est un adulte qui rêve de construire un réel mêlé d’enfance. Les âges s’y superposent, comme dans l’âme. Des racines brutes enfoncées dans le sol, pompant l’énergie tellurique d’une terre des mythes. Un tronc d’homme ayant vécu, pris des coups et subit des entailles, celles aussi des initiales d’amoureux gravées au couteau malhabile.

Des branches peuplant l’air, cherchant ailleurs, faisant l’expérience du monde, peinture, sculpture, écriture, que sais-je encore…

Cet homme rit. Il trouve le nom de son projet sur une boîte de raviolis improbables. Il n’hésite pas à convertir le sérieux de son ouvrage en versions dites plus light, et pourtant rien n’y fait : son ouvrage est sérieux. Tout y est convoqué, science de l’âme, histoire et livres sacrés, actualités et prospections futures.

Le Boz est protéiforme, il s’étend, il fait rhizome. Il n’est pas linéaire, au grand dam de ceux qui y cherchent une raison plus grande que la raison elle-même. On y entre et on en sort par n’importe quelle porte, à n’importe quel moment. Et pourtant… tout y est lié. Tout est codé.

Certes le Boz c’est aussi un retour vers l’histoire  perdue en cours de route.  Une paraphrase de ce vieux grimoire égaré, transmis par la mère à son fils reconnaissant, une fondation en témoigne. Un retour joyeux après tant de souffrances faites à ce peuple de l’ancien testament. Mais c’est aussi tout autre chose, cela se passe ailleurs : il y a de la liberté sans compter, du délirium même, un peu de folie, du punk, de l’ado qui reste en nous. Le retour donc est joyeux, comme pour dire que l’art a toujours raison du poids de l’histoire.

Car le Boz est l’oeuvre d’un artiste, libre de s’exprimer, à partir de qui il est, dans la volonté d’être plus vivant, et d’apporter au monde une contribution : un petit supplément d’âme (c’est un mot de l’auteur). C’est ça le Boz, un supplément qui n’est pas au menu. Une boîte de raviolis peut-être, une boîte de Pandore surtout.

Mais aussi, le Boz, c’est un projet concret : car rien n’existe sans preuve légale. Un livre, des oeuvres, et une société à but lucratif : une machine à produire, à rendre réel, à gagner de l’argent c’est-à-dire des moyens, à redistribuer les richesses pour que d’autres oeuvres existent et croissent au sein de cet univers peuplé d’étranges personnages pourtant si familiers.

C’est cela les niveaux du Boz : son créateur est maître en matière d’échelles à faire passer d’une sphère à l’autre : le réel (des expositions, des oeuvres, une bande dessinée, etc.), la représentation (un site web, de la publicité, etc.), la fiction (un livre, des histoires non linéaires, etc.).

Ceux qui s’y reconnaissent peuvent y contribuer. Ils formeront entre eux une communauté, niveau social du Boz. Des ailes leur pousseront.