Gauz: Debout-Payé (Standing Heavy)

The latest addition to my website is Gauz‘s Debout-Payé (Standing Heavy). Gauz, from the Ivory Coast, had worked as a security guard in Paris and this colourful and witty novel recounts the experience of being a security guard. While this might sound less than interesting, it certainly is not. The novel essentially covers two aspects. Firstly there is the problem of getting a job, functioning as an undocumented worker in Paris and dealing with problems such as housing and racism. Secondly, he gives a detailed account of life as security guard in an expensive Parisian store, covering everything from shoplifting to a detailed account of how the various nationalities – African, European and Asian – dress, behave, purchase and shoplift. He discusses the other employees, the music that is played, the store’s selling techniques, all told with a light-hearted and generally humorous touch. Security guards often get short shrift in cinema, being cannon fodder for the hero and, though he does not mention it, in literature. This book partially redresses that situation.

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