RARA-AVIS: Re: Gerald Kersh

From: Steve Novak ( Cinefrog@comcast.net)
Date: 01 Feb 2005

I¹m extremely glad to learn all this info abot Kersh and to learn also that a bio is forthcoming by Paul Duncan. Also very interested by the info concerning boxing legend Archie Moore that I remember seeing on French TV as a youngster and who had such a dramatic face...the quintesential fighter and in fact when I lived in Louisiana in 69 I met in New Orleans several old fighters for whom he remained a hero... The only book of Kersh I ever read was Night & The City, and I had come to the book through the magnificent J. Dassin film (the best and meanest film noir to my eyes) with brilliant performances of Richard Widmark, Francis L. Sullivan and Stanislaus Zbyszko as Gregorius the Great, and the story of the Polish wrestler/intellectual is worth reading since it probably inspired a lot of the Kersh story...( http://www.pwinsider.com/ViewArticle.asp?id=4243&p=1). Stanislaus was inducted in the Wrestler¹s Hall of Fame in 2003 and I learned about that in a French film magazine!!... I read in France as a younster the S鲩e Noire version called ³Les Forbans de la Nuit² (SN480), translated by S. Henry and R. Amblard, which I still have, and about 20 years ago bought a copy of the Dell Book (#374) at a second hand bookstore in a small town in Michigan. This version has a picture from the film on the cover and a map of Œunderworld London¹ on the back with a complete list of the locations mentioned in the story such as the Silver Fox Club or Fabian Promotions or East & West Caf鮮.. I bought a cassette of the Dassin film on e-Bay for about $5.00, 6 months ago since there are yet no DVD¹s of this magnificent film. The 92 version is farce, and a sad reminder that a sometimes interesting Producer should remain on the phone and not behind the camera...poor Jessica Lange participated (that¹s the best one can say in that case) to this debacle which has one redeeming value: the presence of Eli Wallach....

Steve Novak le Montois de D鴲oit

On 1/31/05 8:41 PM, "Richard Moore" < moorich2@aol.com> wrote:

> --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Max Gilbert" <jmaxgilbert@y...>
> wrote:
>> >
>> > --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Michael Robison
>> > <miker_zspider@y...> wrote:
>>> > > ****************
>>> > > I thought his PRELUDE TO A CERTAIN MIDNIGHT was pretty
>>> > > darned bleak, too. It's about the search for the
>>> > > murderer of a young girl. It wasn't bad except for
>>> > > the occasional divergences.
>>> > >
>>> > > miker
>>> > >
>> > I read PRELUDE TO A CERTAIN MIDNIGHT a few years back and it
>> > certainly qualified as bleak, but I remember at least some of the
>> > cast of characters were likable, whereas with NIGHT & THE CITY
>> > everyone you're introduced to (in the first half of the book at
>> > least) is either reprehensible or pathetic and the main character,
>> > Harry Fabian is a pimp and blackmailer who is thoroughly dishonest
>> > with himself as well as everyone he meets--being stuck in his head
>> > can be pretty disturbing. I definitely recommend the book.
>> >
>> > Max
> Ah, Gerald Kersh! Kersh was one of the writers a used book store
> clerk (and later store owner) steered my teenage self to more than
> forty years ago. I owe everything to that fellow who helped me out
> of rural Georgia and a terrible school system.
> Subdividing "everything" I would rank Kersh reasonably up there on
> the individual author hit parade.
> I wish Paul Duncan was still on this list. Duncan, author of NOIR
> FICTION, DARK HIGHWAYS (Pocket Essentials 2000) among other works,
> is the premier Kersh expert and I can't wait to read the biography
> upon which he has labored for some years. As an aside, I emailed
> Duncan a few months ago about Kersh. One of my passions is boxing
> and I had picked up an old boxing magazine from the 1950s with an
> article about "the old Mongoose" Archie Moore, who was light
> heavyweight champion circa 1952-1962. The article had a picture that
> showed Archie on the top of steps leading from his home in San Diego,
> California to the beach. Each step was named and labeled for
> sportswriters who had helped him along the way. One of the steps was
> labeled "Gerald Kersh" and when I wrote Duncan he was glad to explain
> that Kersh had written an Esquire article about Moore.
> NIGHT AND THE CITY is an excellent novel and I my recommendation to
> that of Max. Let me quote from Paul Duncan on the book: "NIGHT AND
> THE CITY (1938) is a novel of disgust. Of all Kersh's novels, it is
> the one where you most feel the fetid stink of the city, and the
> worthless lives of the people in it. As one reviwer put it, 'this
> novel of the London underworld has something of the realism of a
> Hogarth picture and the satire of a Swift. Pimps, prostitutes,
> panderers, petty crooks and odd characters move about in low joints
> and night clubs, fleecing and being fleeced by each other.'"
> I agree and don't believe either of the film versions (Richard
> Widmark or Robert Duvall) did it complete justice.
> PRELUDE TO A CERTAIN MIDNIGHT (1947) is a very fine novel but
> provokes a strong reaction among those who expect good to always
> triumph.
> Back to NIGHT AND THE CITY for a moment: Kersh brought back Harry
> Fabian in the novel THE SONG OF THE FLEA (Doubleday 1948). It has
> been too many decades for me to give a reasoned review of this
> novel. I only remember that I did not care for it and especially
> thought the use of Harry Fabian was ill-advised.
> Under the same caution of years-passed, I recall fondly the long
> (22,000 words) story by Kersh "Clock Without Hands" as one of likely
> interest to Rara list members. You can find the story in one of the
> most common Kersh U.S. collections MEN WITHOUT BONES (Paperback
> Library 1962). I don't have a bibliography handy but am not
> confident that this long story was in the U.K. collection also called
> MEN WITHOUT BONES. The story is also in the rather common British
> collection THE BEST OF GERALD KERSH (Heinemann 1960). While I can't
> check this at present, I believe that Kersh's use of the title "Clock
> Without Hands" predates its use by my fellow Georgian Carson
> McCullers.
> Richard Moore
> RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
> Yahoo! Groups Links
> * To visit your group on the web, go to:
> * http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rara-avis-l/
> *
> * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
> * rara-avis-l-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
> <mailto: rara-avis-l-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe>
> *
> * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
> <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Has someone you know been affected by illness or disease? Network for Good is THE place to support health awareness efforts! http://us.click.yahoo.com/rkgkPB/UOnJAA/Zx0JAA/kqIolB/TM

RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 01 Feb 2005 EST