Among the greatest interpreters of inchoate terror is Tomi Ungerer, the 85-year-old Alsatian illustrator, author, and artist whose work has just been collected and released in fine coffee table form by Phaidon. (Disclosure: Last year Phaidon also published my own children’s book, Can I Eat That?) Though idolized by Sendak and Silverstein, whom he helped get published, Ungerer is likely unknown to most of us. That’s been changing in the last eight years, since Phaidon acquired the English-language rights to his books in 2008, a documentary came out called Far Out Isn’t Far Enough in 2011, and last year New York Drawing Center mounted a well-received exhibition of his work. Nevertheless, no amount of renaissance or belated renown seems like appropriate recompense for a man like Ungerer.
The stories that led to Ungerer’s exile have been so well recounted that they resemble a fairy tale. I first heard about them while shopping at my local children’s bookstore, Bank Street Books. Espying Ungerer’s Adelaide—about the Parisian adventures of a winged kangaroo—under my arm, the perpetually disheveled owner raised his eyebrow conspiratorially. “Do you know about Tomi?” he asked. I answered I didn’t. Thus was related the tale of how Ungerer had fallen from the all-important esteem of librarians at the very height of his productivity in 1970 after publishing a book of erotic drawings called Fornicon. Apparently when confronted by the outraged horde of censorious arbiters of children’s literature at an American Library Association conference, Ungerer answered, “If people didn’t fuck, you wouldn’t have any children, and without children you would be out of work!” That didn’t go over well and shortly afterwards Ungerer fled to Europe and there he stayed for much of the last half-century. (Later I obtained a rare copy of Fornicon. It is pretty outré but also brilliant.)
as reported in The Bookseller:
Andersen Press has acquired a children’s book by this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Patrick Modiano.
The story, Catherine Certitude, is about a young girl called Catherine whose father runs a shipping business with a failed poet named Casterade. Together they enjoy the simple pleasures of everyday life but Catherine has some questions about her life, including about why her ballerina mother left them to go back to New York.
The book is described a love letter to Paris and ballet that will appeal to fans of classic French children’s stories such asAntoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince (Wordsworth Editions). The illustrator is Jean-Jacques Sempé, who also illustrated René Goscinny’s Little Nicholas series (Phaidon Press).
Klaus Flugge, publisher at Andersen Press, acquired the exclusive UK and Commonwealth rights to the title from French publisher Gallimard.
“I’m absolutely delighted to acquire it,” he told The Bookseller. “It’s a book that will appeal to everyone from aged eight to 80.”
The book is Modiano’s only children’s title and was first published in France in 1988. It was reprinted in 1998.
in France, one children’s book is causing a political stir with its depictions of adults in the altogether called ‘Tous à Poil’, which translates at ‘All In The Buff’.
The book has comical drawings of ordinary people – policemen, bakers, and teachers – taking off their clothes with the aim of teaching small children not to be obsessed with perfect bodies.
Writing in the New Yorker, Alexandra Schwartz praises the bookshops of France in general, and of Paris in particular, and then gets a nasty surprise when she pays a return visit to the legendary Shakespeare & Co.
When I arrived this time, a line had formed in front of the shop. People waited placidly, snapping iPhone photos to bring back to their bookstore-deficient nations. The doors were closed. I went to reach for the handle just as they opened to emit a pair of nuns, and a dark-haired woman stuck out her head and called, “Next two, please.”
Failing to understand, I tried to move past her. She blocked my way. The shop had too many visitors to fit inside at once, she explained. Would I just stand to the side and wait my turn?
A bookstore that has become a monument to itself, even a wildly popular monument, has lost its living essence. If this is what the French are trying to protect against, good luck to them. Rebuffed by Shakespeare, I did what you do when you have the luxury of choice, and went around the corner to the Abbey Bookshop, on the Rue de la Parcheminerie, where I found Kushner’s book smack in the middle of the shelf, right next to Kundera and Lawrence.
A French court has ordered photographer Yan Morvan to withdraw his photobook Gangs Story from bookstores and to pay a €5000 fine after it found that he had breached one of his subjects’ right to control his own image
“Basically, in this case, two opposing rights were pitted against one another – the right to control your own image and the right to inform,” Morvan told BJP in a phone interview. “In this case, the right to control your own image, which was introduced by French minister Elisabeth Guigou in 2000, won over the right to inform. There are 250 images in this book, what this sentence means is that 250 people could sue me. In essence, this sentence is a ban on a photographer’s right to work.”
Very excited to be publishing Sophie Masson’s novel of the French Revolution, BLACK WINGS, available now on the Kindle store.
Get your copy during the first week of publication and pay less than a US dollar or UK pound for a read that will stir you to the core.
“Masson writes like a native of the time Black Wings is set; when her characters speak, we hear the authentic voice of the 18th Century. Detailed, erudite and elegant, its characters lovingly drawn, this absorbing and deeply felt novel brings home to us the curse of living through interesting times. It will not let us forgive the French Revolution for The Terror so easily.”
Cassandra Golds, author of Clair-de-Lune, The Museum of Mary Child and The Three Loves of Persimmon.
“Masson’s tale about the limits of friendship, set against the backdrop of those best and worst of times, captures perfectly the contradictions of revolution – the appeal of the brave new world, the ruthless destruction of old ways, the romance along with the tumult and the terror. Her tale of ordinary folk helplessly caught up in the maelstrom of history, made extraordinary by chance and circumstance, offers a vision of a past that isn’t dusty, archaic and over, but vivid, engaging, alive.”
Wendy James, author of the award-winning Out of the Silence, The Steele Diaries and The Mistake.
“With skilful attention to detail, author Sophie Masson weaves a compelling tale of a nation caught up in a madness fuelled by a reckless and unrealistic idealism, and the four friends who, wittingly or not, were its victims. Set against this chilling account of the collective madness that led to the murderous rampages and bloodthirsty executions of the French Revolution is the story of Jacques’ love for Flora – a love that will test everything he believes and holds dear. A great read for lovers of historical fiction with a dash of romance.”
Felicity Pulman, author of A Ring Through Time.