In 1906, Félix Fénéon was the author of 1,220 faits-divers published in Le Matin, a Paris newspaper. Over one hundred years later, Joanna Neborsky illustrates a selection of these in Three-Line Novels: Félix Fénéon, using the concise tidbits as narrative for illustrations and collages based on fin-de-siècle materials. The vignettes are hilarious in their brevity, despite being based on true crime for the most part. Some are simpler in scope, such as the piece with our favourite illustrations: "Besting the French champion, who could dance no more than 14 hours, M. Guattero was, at 12:27, declared winner of the waltz marathon." But then there is a short tale of frustration, our favourite bit of narrative: "Again and again Madame Couderc of Saint-Ouen was prevented from hanging herself from her window bolt. Exasperated, she fled across the fields." Wonderful for those who delight in the morbid or merely wacky details.
Hardcover, 128 pages. Mark Batty Publisher, 2010. $18.21 at Amazon