Saturday, July 23, 2011

Press Release for Boris Vian's (Vernon Sullivan) "To Hell With The Ugly"

Press Release

To Hell With The Ugly”
Boris Vian (Vernon Sullivan)
978-0-9662346-6-4 $15.95
Boris Vian, 1949 copyright afp

Translated from the French and Introduction by Paul Knobloch
Artwork and interior Illustrations by Jessica Mnckley
Book Design by Tom Recchion

Boris Vian was the leading light of the Post-War years in Paris. 'The Prince of Saint-Germain' knew everyone that was culturally important in those rich years. From Miles Davis to Jean-Paul Sartre to Jean Cocteau to Juliette Gréco.

Besides being one of the great French novelists of the 20th Century, Vian was also a translator of hard-boiled Amercian crime novels (Raymond Chandler among others), songwriter, singer, A&R man at a record company, engineer, playwrite, jazz critic, screenwriter and sometimes actor. And the leading light of the Saint Germain-des-Prés social scene. A man who knew everyone that was interesting, and yet always stood apart from any organized movement.

“To Hell With The Ugly” is a novel Vian wrote under the name Vernon Sullivan, who had a very serious scandal history with his first Sullivan novel “I Spit On Your Graves.” “To Hell With The Ugly” according to its translator Paul Knobloch is 'like a pornographic Hardy Boys novel set on the Island of Dr. Moreau to a be-bop soundtrack.'

The narration is a mixture of Young Adult adventure novel, science fiction, Los Angeles Noir, and sex romp. A group of adventursome teenagers get involved in a case where a mad doctor has an island of nothing but beautiful looking people. Clones whose purpose is to have sex with good looking people to bring more good looking people on this earth. Utopian dream or nightmare? This novel written in 1948 brings up issues that are proment in today's world. Like an early J.G. Ballard, Vian held the pulse of a culture that was about to embrace the future with teptation, fear and wonder.

Here are the critical blurbs:

“Boris Vian was a rascal, a chameleon, and a visionary. In his crime novles –channeling the elusive Vernon Sullivan—he displays America as a Left Bank fever dream, a place where Dashiell Hammett is president of the Academie and Sartre splits philosophical hairs with Frankie Yale. Go there, and you might not return.”
  • Luc Sante

“Imagine being aught in a dream in which you're still you – with all your complex cmotions, thoughts, and tastes- but the only way you can express them is through the language of a noir novel. Also, your ability to direct your own actions has been removed so the noir begins to tell your story for you, almost against your will. The end result? You are simultaneously a hero and a victim of a genre you never intended to inhabit. Such is the amazing effect of Vian's “To Hell With The Ugly, a novel about – among other things – perfection.”

- Jim Krusoe
cover by Tom Recchion

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