The Conductor and Other Tales

Written by Jean Ferry, illustrated by Claude Ballaré and translated by Edward Gauvin | November 30, 2013
The Conductor and Other Tales, by Jean Ferry, illustrated by Claude Ballaré and translated by Edward Gauvin, Wakefield Press, November 2013

First published in French in 1950 in a limited edition of 100 copies, then republished in 1953 (and enthusiastically praised by André Breton), The Conductor and Other Tales is Jean Ferry's only published book of fiction. It is a collection of short prose narratives that offer a blend of pataphysical humor and surreal nightmare: secret societies so secret that one cannot know if one is a member or not, music-hall acts that walk a tightrope from humor to horror, childhood memories of a man never born, and correspondence from countries that are more states of mind than geographical locales. Lying somewhere between Kafka's parables and the prose poems of Henri Michaux, Ferry's tales read like pages from the journal of a stranger in a familiar land. Though extracts have appeared regularly in Surrealist anthologies over the decades, The Conductor has never been fully translated into English until now. This edition includes four stories not included in the original French edition and is illustrated throughout with collages by Claude Ballaré.


Jean Ferry (1906-1974) made his living as a screenwriter for such filmmakers as Luis Buñuel and Louis Malle, cowriting such classics as Henri-Georges Clouzot's Le Quai des orfèvres and script-doctoring Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du paradis. He was the first serious scholar and exegete of the work of Raymond Roussel (on whom he published three books) and a member of the Collège de Pataphysique.

More info

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

The Tooth Mouse

In many countries around the world, there is no such thing as the Tooth Fairy. Instead, there is the Tooth Mouse! This modern fable, set in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, tells how an aging French Tooth Mouse names her successor.
new titles

My Beautiful Bus

Poetic, comic, obsessed with minutiae, My Beautiful Bus is a welcome dose of serious frivolity at the expense of the contemporary novel. Based on an actual bus trip taken by Oulipo-member Jacques Jouet in the late '80s, his fictional reconstruction of the experience twenty years later focuses not so much on the scenery as on the possibilities offered an author by the eponymous vehicle and its occupants.
new titles

The Conductor

Pairing two seemingly disparate elements—an orchestra conductor and a grove of trees—award-winning artist Laetitia Devernay herself orchestrates a visual magnum opus.