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France

Jean-Claude Izzo

Jean-Claude Izzo

Jean-Claude Izzo was born in Marseilles, France, in 1945. He achieved astounding success with his Marseilles Trilogy (Total Chaos, Chourmo, Solea). In addition to the books in this trilogy, his two novels (The Lost Sailors, and A Sun for the Dying) and one collection of short stories (Vivre fatigue) also enjoy great success with both critics and the public.

Izzo died in 2000 at the age of fifty-five.

The author's official Web site (in french)

Izzo at Wikipedia

Europa Editions and PEN World Voices 2007 collaborate on Black & Blue, homage to Jean-Claude Izzo

Read from Black & Blue: An Introduction to Mediterranean Noir

All Jean-Claude Izzo's books

Upcoming events

From The Guardian: Earlier this year, the advertising branch of SNCF (French Rail) refused to run a billboard campaign for a book. Rose Sang, set in Marseille, is the tale of a journalist trying...
Dark Paradise "Marseilles is paradise. They respect me here. I'm not a wog." That's the voice of an Algerian soldier fighting for France in Rachid Bouchareb's 2006 World War II drama Indigènes...
The French-American Foundation announces that Solea by Jean-Claude Izzo, translated by Howard Curtis, has been selected among the top ten finalists of the 21st Annual Translation Prizes awarded by the...

Latest reviews

  • In the summertime picnics, outdoor concerts and films are popular. Turks love to have picnics. If invited to a picnic do not expect sandwiches and a thermos. Turks take a full kitchen, including a barbecue (mangal), bottled gas for making tea, porcelain plates, metal knives...
    — Jul 31 2015
  • On Tuesday, June 16th, at 2 PM on BookPeople’s third floor, the Murder in the Afternoon Book Club discusses Jean-Claude Izzo’s first volume in his Marseilles Trilogy, consisting of Total Chaos, Chourmo, and Solea. The subgenre of Marseilles Noir reached its maturity in the...
    — Jun 11 2015
  • Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo (Europa Editions), a taut thriller, makes a splendid introduction to Marseille's seamy side. See the whole list here.
    — Jul 21 2014
  • The Marseilles Trilogy, featuring ex-cop Fabio Montale, is a classic of European crime fiction. Its publication was the catalyst for the foundation of an entire literary movement, Mediterranean noir.
    — Jul 13 2014
  • Spring crime reading: World Noir series   Spring has sprung here in Wales, and we’ve already had a few sunny days to reacquaint ourselves with the pleasures of reading outside in the garden, park, or by the sea. Bliss.
    — Apr 4 2014
  • My good friend Jon introduced me to this book, via my wife – in as much as she swiped it off me when I first bought it, read the first 50 pages and discarded it, saying it wasn’t her thing at all. This surprised me, because I think it’s a wonderful book – a very,...
    — Mar 31 2014
  • In Chourmo -- the second installment of what would become The Marseilles Trilogy -- Montale, now an ex-cop, is asked to find his beautiful cousin's missing teenage son. Scarcely has he agreed to look for Guitou than a former colleague, a counselor and confidant of Arab youth,...
    — Jul 12 2013
  • Total Chaos, first published in 1995, begins with Ugo's return to Marseilles, after twenty years away, to avenge the murder of Manu. It is a question of honor. "Honor was central to Marseilles life. 'You have no honor,' was the worst insult you could say to someone." As the reader...
    — Jul 11 2013
  • "In the beginning is the book. And that moment  in which  Cain kills his brother Abel.  In the blood  of this fratricide,  the Mediterranean gives us the first noir novel." When it comes to Euro-Noir, I reserve a special place for the work of Jean-Claude...
    — May 26 2013
  • Izzo published his first novel at the age of 50 in 1995. TOTAL CHAOS – part of the Marseilles trilogy, which is published for the first time in the UK this month – helped define the crime sub-genre now known as Mediterranean noir. Izzo died just five years later. He began...
    — May 10 2013
  • I haven’t read Jean-Claude Izzo’s Mediterranean trilogy, the modern noir series that made him famous, nor have I visited his beloved Marseilles. Reading GARLIC, MINT, & SWEET BASIL: ESSAYS ON MARSEILLES, THE MEDITERRANEAN, AND NOIR FICTION, a collection of his short...
    — Apr 12 2013
  • GARLIC, MINT AND SWEET BASIL is a very motley collection, extremely generously spaced out over just over a hundred pages. Promising in its subtitle Essays on Marseilles, Mediterranean Cuisine, and Noir Fiction, few of the pieces are full-fledged essays — though they do cover...
    — Apr 3 2013
  • If I am writing this and you are reading it, it means that we are both survivors. We are those who remain, for one more day at least as the light fades. But that means that there are others whom we have left behind. Fabio seems to think that the best of his life has passed...
    — Mar 11 2013
  • Paris is freezing, and when his friend Titi dies curled up in the subway, Rico decides to head for Marseilles, drawn by the sun and sea, and by memories of his youthful love, Léa. So begins the graceful, slow-motion ballet of Rico’s journey to the coast—and back through...
    — Oct 1 2008
  • "A Sun For the Dying" (Reviewed by Guy Savage AUG 25, 2008) “When you were on the street, you lost your bearings, there were no rules anymore. Only the naïve believed in the solidarity of the poor. Like many others, Rico had found that out soon enough. On the street,...
    — Oct 1 2008
  • It's an icy winter in Paris, but Rico, the destitute protagonist of A Sun for the Dying, knows how to survive on the streets. He has a decent "crash pad", a vacant building whose Madagascan security guard buys him coffee and croissants, and thanks to his bookish comrade Titi,...
    — Sep 12 2008
  • from Shelf Awareness Medicating himself with Dolipran, only as sober as he absolutely needs to be, Rico is one of the homeless of Paris, living on the street and managing to stay numb and survive, but the discovery of his best friend's body frozen to death in the subway...
    — Sep 8 2008
  • A drifter escapes to Marseilles in this dark work from Izzo (The Lost Sailors, 2007, etc.) When drifter Rico's entertaining friend Titi, who recited tales from books long gone, dies of exposure in a Paris metro, Rico decides he must flee the cold city. Although leaving...
    — Jul 1 2008
  • A novelist who speaks through music... Jean-Claude Izzo's novels make brilliant use of musical allusions in portraying France's ethnic divisions About a third of the way through Lost Sailors, the most recent English-language translation of the late Jean-Claude...
    — Jun 19 2008
  • Izzo (1945–2000) returns to Marseille (setting of Total Chaos and other of his books) with a bleak, affecting tale about a man on the skids, despairing of love's ability to heal. Rico, the 40-something, hard-drinking transient protagonist, still smarts from a breakup in...
    — Apr 30 2008

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