TamTam Books News

Saturday, August 23, 2003:

Zapping through the Gurardian's past book reviews I was happy to see Chris Petit, the author of one of my favorite crime novels "Robertson," did a brief review of Vian's "I Spit on Your Graves." It's nice to know that I keep good company!:

"Where the America of Icarus is so ridiculous that it could have been written by someone living in the Pitcairn Islands, "I Spit on Your Graves," by Frenchman Boris Vian, is dreamily convincing on heated sexual and racial conflict in the US. Appearing for the first time in English, this is a work of authentic forgery: first published in France in 1946, it masqueraded as a translation of a censored American work by one Vernon Sullivan and went on to sell more than half a million copies. A main inspiration would have been the slew of Hollywood movies that opened in Paris after the liberation, identified by the French as films noirs. I Spit... is straight noir, but also a work of liberated imagination after four years of Nazi occupation: heady, abandoned, fevered and lubricious. A fusion of prime US pulp and French sado-eroticism, the author was a jazz aficionado, boulevardier and pamphleteer who wrote it for a bet in a fortnight. Stranger even than Vian's book was his premature death, aged 39: in an act of bizarre poetic symmetry, he managed the ultimate critical statement by dying of an attack of rage while watching the opening of a movie version."

Tosh // 2:23 PM

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