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He spent his childhood in Villerville, a small town east of Deauville.
An Associate Professor of Letters, he received the Prix Goncourt in 1976, 29 years old, for his fourth novel, Les Flamboyants ("The Flasher").
Grainville spent his childhood in Normandy, regularly going to hunt and poach with his father, businessman and mayor of Villerville. He attended the André Maurois lycee in Deauville, then Malherbe in Caen, before winning admission to his higher education at the Lycée Henri-IV and to the Sorbonne where he prepared for his civil service competitive examination. At the age of 19 years Grainville wrote his first manuscript, then at age 25 he published his first novelThe Fleece, which was immediately accepted by Gallimard. Just before dying, Henry de Montherlant predicted him great future and lauded his specific style. His next novel The Edge failed the Goncourt in 1973, in the fifth tour against The ogre by Jacques Chessex, to the great displeasure of Michel Tournier who supported it in jury.
Having compared with Jean Giono for his wild novels linked to elements and to Louis-Ferdinand Céline for his "verbal excess", Grainville distanced himself from this inheritance by a fantastique and dream which impregnates his work: the mythological Amazon (La Diane rousse), return to original animality (The Shadow of the animal), secrets and conspiracies (The black Fortresses), the narrator observer of underworld (The eternal Tyrant), or the animals who manage the destiny of men (Light of the rat, The Kiss of the octopus). Writer of the two centuries, following the example of Huysmans but having digested Proust,Nouveau roman and "the academic ressassements of some realism", according to Michel Tournier Grainville opened a "new way" which led to the 21st century.
Grainville always enjoyed painting, which was his inspiration.
Charlotte Baker, Enduring Negativity : Representations of Albinism in the Novels of Didier Destremau, Patrick Grainville and Williams Sassine, Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, Peter Lang, 2011.
Dauda Yillah, 'Patrick Grainville's Black African World: Dismantling or Bolstering Cultural Binarisms?', Nottingham French Studies, 58,1 (2019), pp 82-101.
Quotations (anthologies and trials)
Brève histoire des fesses, par Jean-Luc Hennig, Zulma, 1995.