The Disappearance of Jim Sullivan

The Disappearance of Jim Sullivan

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By Tanguy Viel

Translated by Clayton McKee

ISBN: 9781628973716

Publication Date: 

In The Disappearance of Jim Sullivan, disappearance is both a theme and a stylistic device. Indeed, this publication narrates the disappearance of Dwayne Koster, who, fascinated by the story of Jim Sullivan, commits suicide in the New Mexico desert which was the setting of the rocker’s disappearance in 1975. But this novel is for the most part set in the metanarrative tale of its own genesis, and, as a result, is partially eclipsed: its fictitious author doesn’t relate it in its entirety and keeps adding bits and pieces of first drafts and preliminary sketches to his text, thus blurring its boundaries. Tanguy Viel’s work can therefore be perceived as a double response, existential and aesthetic, to the question of the end.


"Tanguy Viel's parody/pastiche of the American novel is subtle and experimental; it tells a story at the same time as it implicitly poses questions about the narrative structure it is deploying." —The French Review

"Make no mistake: despite appearances, Tanguy Viel has not written an American novel, but a typically "made in France" work of fiction ... Out of all this emerges a veritable literary gem." Jean-Claude Lebrun, l'Humanité

"A delight ... A mishmash of the works of Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Laura Kasischke, Jim Harrison and Richard Ford." —Baptiste Liger, L'Express

Praise for Article 353

"[A] beguiling noir...Arresting metaphors enliven the spare prose...Viel should win new fans with elegant effort." —Publishers Weekly

"Sharp and memorable…a dark fable that reads like one of Georges Simenon’s “romans durs” or psychological novels, which winningly fuse together lean prose, queasy atmospherics, raw emotion and moral conundrums…[Viel] satisfies with a potent concoction of mystery, complexity and tightly coiled tension." —Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Fresh and absorbing…grippingly told." —Library Journal

"Captivating and striking, Tanguy Viel's writing never lets us go." —Libération

Biographical Information

Tanguy Viel was born in Brest in 1973. He is the author of several novels, including Le Black Note, Cinéma, The Absolute Perfection of Crime (winner of the Prix Fénéon and the Prix littéraire de la vocation), Beyond Suspicion, Paris-Brest, The Disappearance of Jim Sullivan, and, most recently, Article 353 (winner of the Grand prix RTL-Lire and the Prix François Mauriac). He lives near Orléans, France.

Clayton McKee is a PhD student in Comparative literature at UCLA. His research focuses on literary translation of gender- and sexuality-based identities of exiled authors between Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. He is also an author, editor, and translator.