Blaise Cendrars was born Frederic Louis Sauser. He changed his name in 1911 to a coinage that suggests "blaze + ashes + art." As Cendrars put it, "To write is to burn alive." Cendrars became an important figure in the Parisian avant-garde before World War I upon publication of his poetry collection, "Easter in New York". He served in the French Foreign Legion, was wounded in 1915, and had his right arm amputated. His fiction was often nihilistic and anarchic. Cendrars was a war correspondent in World War II (in which his younger son died). His postwar fiction tended to be contemplative and mystical, as well as overtly autobiographical.
From the Publisher
Confessions of Dan Yack continues the adventures of the eccentric English millionaire Dan Yack. Yack is Blaise Cendrars' alter ego, and the Confessions represent the distilled riches of the author's picaresque life, spoken into a Dictaphone and divided into nine 'cylinders' which constitute the book's chapters.|He tells the story of his tender love for the young Mireille (daughter of one of his many mistresses) whom he meets in a crowded tabac in a Paris gone mad on Armistice Night, 1918. This love transforms Dan Yack's life: he abandons his women, gives up his fast cars and debauchery to marry this convent-educated girl of his dreams. To indulge Mireille's fantasies he launches her as a film star by creating films for her and casting her in wraith-like roles inspired by Edgar Allen Poe. But before long Mireille is struck by a mysterious and fatal illness, the psychological origins of which raise some disturbing questions about the nature of their relationship.