Luc Lang is the prize-winning author of, among others: Voyage sur la ligne d’horizon, Cruel 13, La Fin des paysages, Mille six cents ventres (published in English translation as Strange Ways), and L'Autoroute. He has in addition to novels and short stories, written essays on visual arts; and has contributed to various art exhibition catalogs, collections, or research paper. Lang has also published the startling autobiographical work, 11 septembre mon amour (Stock, 2003). Lang writes widely on contemporary art and on the art of the novel and teaches aesthetics at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris et Cergy. His Cruel Tales from the 13th Floor was just published in English by The University of Nebraska Press.
About Cruel Tales from the 13th Floor
In sixteen ferocious short stories, French author Luc Lang encapsulates the brutality of everyday life. Each tale is an admixture of tragedy, comedy, ridicule, and pain. Compassion lurks somewhere, perhaps, but pity is conspicuous by its absence.
Lang’s curt, agitated prose disassembles daily life with a swift, unflinching hand and examines it with a sharp, analytic eye. Skinning quotidian moments to bare, raw impulses, confusions, and the agonies underneath, the stories in Cruel Tales from the Thirteenth Floor show the mundane grind of the everyday forces that are fueled by cruel calculation and amoral happenstance and shot through with bizarre surprise. The results are at once coldly comic and powerfully tragic.
Interpreting human interactions as a series of precise jabs and desperate flailings, Cruel Tales from the Thirteenth Floor tells truths about the darker sides of our potential and our well-meaning urges dimmed by chance.
Cruel Tales from the Thirteenth Floor is dark stuff, the ugly side of people and of fate. There's a lot of gusto too, a love of life, and death, and the power one can have in one's hands, which gives many of the tales an even creepier feel. It's all quite impressively done, making for a strong but very dark collection. —MA Orthopher, The Complete Review
Alienation, loneliness, infidelity, hatred, and violence color these tales from first page to last, a grim panorama of human nature relieved only by the dark humor Lang deploys here and there. —Warren Motte, Washington Independant review of Books.