Stone Dead

“The anti-establisment Hero who’s taking the States by Storm”

USThe hatchet man

The Hatchet Man (Vas-y Béru) Paperback Library (New York), 1970

The American publication of San-Antonio novels in the early 1970’s  consists in mere reprints, with  different covers (but the same illustration)  of the translations published in England in the late 1960’s.   Most of the translations are from  Cyril Buhler. What is original on these “First American Publications” is the blurb, printed on the cover. Here, this most hyperbolic of commercial communications takes place, not only on the back page as is traditional, but on the front page already, for maximum attention.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Discovering the “King of the French Kiosks”, in English language

US_C'est mort et ça ne sait pas

San-Antonio, Stone Dead (C’est mort et ça ne sait pas),

Translation Cyril Buhler,  Paperback Library, New York, 1970

There is a striking contrast between Georges Simenon’s status as an international bestseller, and his younger contemporary, once friend,  and main challenger in the French market, San-Antonio. The latter, with his eponymous character, the Commissaire San-Antonio,  an ironic hardboiled counterpart to Simenon’s Maigret actually far surpassed Maigret in terms of sales in French, yet  is virtually unknown in the English speaking world. Too much of his  idiosyncratic verve seems to get lost in translation.  As American Scholar Susan Dorff once put it, in a survey published in the Armchair Detective,  San-Antonio, the king of the kiosks in France is also one of her best-kept secrets. With over 100 million San Antonios in circulation and 200 different titles, many of them published, at a point, in 600,000 mass-market paperback, this is a vast, and vastly untranslated continent, which English readers could only view from afar, if at all.

Here is a list  of English and US translations, with some images of how the books actually looked like.

Continue reading

Out of the Slaughterhouse of Literature

One of the original aims of the current AHRC project on Crime Fiction Viz is to show books which are difficult to locate, or have been long forgotten ; to make the unread reappear ; to allow to see books, which had become virtually invisible. Such are the following novels,  original best-sellers but whose international career was hampered by a set of adverse circumstances. Many of them have been ignored,  lost, binned or destroyed. In some cases, there are probably only  few surviving copies spread across the world, and most  had been hidden for decades in obscure, opaque and remote,  private or public collections.

RusPicture1

 San-Antonio, Moi, vous me connaissez? Kourier, Nijny Novgorod, 1992

Continue reading