Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Jake Lamar graduated from Harvard University and then spent six years writing for Time magazine. In 1991, after having been awarded a prize in the USA for his book of memoirs Bourgeois Blues, he decided to live out his childhood fantasy and headed for Paris. He also wanted to see whether he could make it as a writer. He did not speak a word of French. He was only going to stay for a year, but he has never left.
Though he now masters French, he does not feel ready yet to write in his adopted language. He has written six books to date, only four of which have been translated into French. Yet Jake Lamar remains a quintessential American writer, writing about his home country as though ’it were a member of the family, somebody you love but who drives you crazy.’
The USA are not his only source of inspiration. Just look at Rendez-vous Eighteenth, a Parisian detective story. Jake Lamar has just published the French translation of his memoirs, Bourgeois Blues, a book that is resolutely far from the clichés of the ’American in Paris’.
- Ghosts of Saint-Michel
- Rendezvous Eighteenth
- If 6 Were 9
- Close to the Bone
- The Last Integrationist
- Bourgeois Blues
Synopsis of Bourgeois Blues :
Jake Lamar, in his moving, subtle and lucid memoirs writes an insightful account of the 1980’s ; he talks about achieving his father’s ambition for him that is to succeed in white America. He eloquently depicts the struggle of the middle-class "black Bourgeois" to assimilate into white society while also striving for mutual acceptance and recognition by other blacks.
Synopsis of The Last Integrationist :
Jake Lamar’s debut novel was published in the USA in 1996 against a backdrop of intolerance, anger and hatred, where relations between Blacks and Whites had become irremediably conflictual. Considered at the time like a sort of visionary ’Dr. Strangelove’ , the book has since become strangely prophetic.
Jake Lamar sets his story in the near future — a time close at hand. America’s war against drugs and crime has resulted in harsh restrictions and televised public executions. The prime mover in this war is Attorney General Melvin Hutchinson, a brilliant black lawyer and staunch conservative who as a judge was dubbed "Hang ’Em High Hutch." Melvin Hutchinson is on the fast track to a vice-presidential nomination, but he has a potentially explosive secret.
The Last Integrationist is an audacious and forceful dystopia that deals with themes such as racial relations, violence, the right to privacy and rightist extremism.