Chien de Printemps

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‘The narrator of Chien de printemps could not have chosen a more mysterious and elusive subject for his biographical project than Francis Jansen.’ Discuss. This novel opens up with the simple straightford lines « J’ai connu Francis Jansen quand j’avais dix-neuf ands, au printemps de 1964, et je veux dire aujourd’hui le peu de choses que je sais de lui. » the author’s intent is to put down in black and white all his memorys of jansen. He wants to catagorise, and organize his memories and by making them tangiable he feels that in doing this they will be reaffirmed. His time spent with jansen was so brief, yet significant and he wants to validate his memories to try and gain some closure from this elusive mentor figure that he had known when he was young. The author always had a passion for organizing things, and we can see this as he volunteers himself to categorize all of jansens photos which are strewn haphazard between 3 suitcases. it was while doing this job that the author began to get close to jansen and admire him immensely. This novel has no chapters, it is formed from a series of memories, each of different length all strung together and giving us snapshots of information from the author’s past. In fact, reading this novel is much like leafing through a photo album. In a photo we see a frozen memory that is boarded on all sides and in this novel we are given snippets of information here and there and must essentially fill in the blanks ourselves to complete the story. Jansen is a very mysterious character throughout this novel and we never gain a true insight into his complex personality. From the mere glimpses we are shown we may deduce that jansen is a very solitary man who enjoys his own company. He is minimalistic in his décor and does not care for material possessions. We can also see that he is a different man from who he used to be. It is clear to us that jansen has lost his spark, his enthusiasm and his joie-de-vivre. As the story progresses...
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