Appledore Books Newsletter
July 2008
French Writer Boris Vian Surfaces
As a Surrealist Should —Again and Again

Boris Vian, the lovable French Surrealist of post-World War II exotica, wrote "A Priest in Swim Trunks" in 1946 during the Existentialist years. Vian's short story, recently translated by Julia Older, is featured in the Spring issue of Natural Bridge; A Journal of Contemporary Literature published by the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Mary Troy was guest editor.

Vian had many creative friends, including Jean Paul Sartre, Miles Davis, Simone de Beauvoir, Queneau, Ionesco, Alfred Jarry and other Pataphysicians of The College of Imaginary Solutions. Vian was an extraordinarily talented poet, writer, actor, recording artist, subversive, singer and trickster.

Julia Older also translated Vian's collection of short stories Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories, published in the French Modernist Series of the University of Nebraska Press, with a Foreword by Louis Malle.

Louis Malle, director of the movies "Atlantic City," "My Dinner with André," "Au revoir, les enfants" and many other films, was a colleague of Vian. The coming of age film "Murmur of the Heart" is thought to be about Boris Vian. In his Foreword, Malle writes of Vian, "He was my friend, and I admired him passionately for his eclecticism, devastating irony, and taste for provocation."

The Book Scene: May Sales Up

Retail sales in bookstores nationwide increased in May this year by 2.6 percent compared to May 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, which tallies sales month-by-month for bookstores and other retail categories.

This translates in revenue to an increase of $29 million for bookstores for a total of $1.154 billion last May.

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