Philippe Djian has finally had another novel translated in English!
Djian considered the English version of the novel he called "37.2 de Matin" ("37.2 Degrees in the Morning" - a pregnant womans' body temperature) and which we know as "Betty Blue", a failure of the translator's art. He claimed that was already a making enough money with his literary best-sellers in France, and he was so unhappy with the Beat 'style' his prose had been given by the translator, that he would rather not publish in English again.
Basically, fuck USA, fuck England, fuck E@L. What the heck? Hey, I really loved the way he, err, "wrote" Betty Blue. Me wanted more!
Not doubt you know the successful 'raunchy' 'shockwave' inducing 1986 movie more than you do the book, but Djian hated that as well.
“It’s very disagreeable, that my work is only known in English by the movie, because the aesthetics of Jean Jacques Beineix’s film is completely different, maybe the opposite. It’s difficult because in the movie you have two characters – in the book I was not sure that I was speaking of two characters. Somewhere in my mind there was only one character who was part male and part female – it wasn’t so brutal. If you are a film maker, you have to be very light, you have to be delicate. If there is a scene of love in the movie you are not obliged to use music. In this movie and in most movies it’s like they’re made for children. For example, in Betty Blue I said at the beginning of the book the man has a yellow car and that’s all I said. But in the movie from beginning to end you have the yellow car and the yellow car and the yellow car and you have the sunset, and you have the music – so it’s too much, it’s like pastries – they can be too rich! Each kind of pastry can be good on its own : cream, chocolate, and so on… but if you put them all together, it’s horrible!”
Coincidentally I was looking through the French section of Kinokuniya just last Saturday, checking what Djian was up to (he is supposed to be writing an novel in French every year [I may have blogged about this before, when I was in Paris]) and wondering if I should revive my high-school French to read him (and Celine) in the original! There were several of his there, but nothing except Betty Blue in the English section.
Well, his new novel Unforgivable HAS been translated in English and it is one the way to E@L from
Check out the back-cover at Click If You Want To Look Inside for the reviews of the French edition. Very positive!
But I hope the translation is as bad as last time, because I really loved Betty Blue!