TamTam Books News

Wednesday, August 25, 2004:

I have some great news! In the spring of 2005 Rizzoli Books (with help from yours truly and my friend Eva) will be putting out "Boris Vian’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés." Text by Boris Vian and photographs by Georges Dudognon. Introduction by Tosh Berman. The release date right now is March 10, 2005. Boris Vian’s birthday!
Georges Dudognon’s remarkable images are of the streets, nightclubs (the caves), and the incredible personalities that made up the life that were Saint-Germain-des-Prés. With this book in your hands you can smell the sweat of the dancers in clubs like La Taboo and Saint Germain.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1949 was more than a location for Vian; it was his space & time to express his love for American Jazz music, hardboiled novels, surreal antics, beautiful women (and men). Vian among a chosen few planted the first seeds of the youth movement in 20th Century Paris that shaped literature, music and politics for the future generations. Oh, and he did write his masterpiece novels ‘I Spit on Your Graves,’ Foam of the Daze,’ and ‘Autumn in Peking’ during and under the spell of late 40's Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
"Boris Vian’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés" was written while things were still hot – and as it was happening. Personally I have never read a book nor seen photos that were so one with its culture of club-going, jazz listening, new literature being produced, and the various eccentrics and movers that made up the scene in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
In a series of chapters that are devoted each to the streets, nightclubs/locations, and biographies of the participants, Vian wrote about the scene from the inside – and scorns those who didn’t like jazz and the modern life. He especially had disdain for the media of that time. Remarkably it is similar to Guy Debord’s "Considerations on the Assassination of Gerard Lebovici" (TamTam Books), in that Vian attacked specific articles and journalists who just got everything wrong on a consistent basis.
So, in a sense this book is a tongue-in-cheek travel guide, but it is a tour guide with a touch of poison and great wit. Through Vian’s eyes (Dudognon’s photos) and text, you will meet Juillete Gréco, Miles Davis, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Genet, Raymond Queneau, Jacques Prévert, Jean Cocteau, various film world personalities and the fuel for the scene ‘Les Rats’ (the club kids).
Paul Knobloch who also did the brilliant translation for my next Vian release "Autumn in Peking" on TamTam Books translated the book. That will come out this autumn 2004.
"Boris Vian’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés" will be in hardcover and the retail cost will be around $45.00. Keep watching my website for further information and I will have an official press release on the site as well.

Tosh // 9:08 AM

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