Four books from author, screenwriter, and producer Lowell Cauffiel are now available for download!
This year film noir turns 70. While there had been some intermittent films leading up to the birth of the classic noir, in 1944 the dahlia bloomed with six key films: Double Indemnity, Laura, Murder My Sweet, Phantom Lady, When Strangers Marry, and The Woman in the Window. In these films you have many of the key figures in noir making some of their first forays into the genre (directors Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, and Robert Siodmak; writers Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich, Vera Caspary, Phillip Yordan; actors Robert Mitchum, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Bennett, Dana Andrews--just to name a few). This onslaught of darkness came in the wake of the bleakest days (from the American perspective, anyway) of WWII. The basis of many of these films were older properties, but it is the way these films came out--physically darker, psychologically denser, and ultimately more pessimistic--that marks the real birth of film noir.By way of celebrating, Hinkson today posted the first of half a dozen articles, this one recalling the many strengths of Double Indemnity, the Fred MacMurray/Barbara Stanwyck/Edward G. Robinson picture that he says “might well be the most famous of all film noirs.” Stay tuned for the remaining installments of Hinkson’s series.
READ MORE: “When Lightning Strikes,” by Thomas Kaufman
(The Rap Sheet).
Is President Barack Obama buying a $4.2 million house in Rancho Mirage formerly owned by Joseph Wambaugh?
Looking to sample some excellent summer reading? We present to you the Hachette Book Group Summer Reading Fiction Sampler 2014, which is available as a free digital download from your favorite retailers.
This sampler includes a chapter from David Shafer’s forthcoming novel, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. We love this novel and encourage you to sample that first!
All this to say, world, here is my new book. It’s name is BRAVO, and it’s about a somewhat broken man trying to do his duty, and a somewhat broken woman trying to recover what she’s lost in doing hers.
To those of you who pick it up, who give it a try, my thanks. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
In which I bow out and let Mulholland’s eloquent authors describe their own novels way better than I ever could.
But seriously, Bravo is so good, and I hope you can find some time this week to visit a real or
imagined digital bookstore to pick up a copy.
I had a disconcerting reading experience last week. Sorry; that phrase – reading experience – sounds like marketing-ese, which is a language I’ve always gone to some trouble to avoid speaking, but I don’t know how else to describe it.
Let me begin by saying that I read a lot of American fiction. Which is to say, fiction written by American authors. Some of it is in the original American edition, either because the author doesn’t have a separate British publisher, or more enjoyably, because I bought it during a visit to America. I even have two copies of the same Jack Reacher, with different titles, because I didn’t realize they were the same till I arrived home.
And I like to think I speak pretty good American when the occasion arises. On our recent visit a couple of months ago husband was moved to comment with a smile, ‘You just said that in American,’ when I asked the hotel housekeeper for some fresh washcloths. In the UK I’d have asked the chambermaid for some fresh flannels, but that would have taken a bit of explaining to her US equivalent.
Which is really what lies at the heart of my disconcerting experience. I was reading one of the small library of books I picked up at the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver back in May: an early title by an author whose work I discovered a few months ago. She’s a British author, and her books, at least the ones I’ve read, are set in Britain and have British characters, though it turns out they’ve become popular in the US – possibly more so than at home, since blazed across the front cover was the tag NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.
It didn’t take me long to realize that the copy I’d found was the American edition. And it had been translated.
Many years ago I had a conversation with an author friend whose debut novel had just sold to an American publisher; he talked about his American editor as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I was pretty green in those days, and couldn’t quite understand why a book written in plain English needed an American editor; my friend patiently explained that words like ‘tanner’ and ‘bob’ would be a mystery to readers across the water (the book was set in the 1950s, before decimal coinage came in over here), so some minor changes would be needed to make it user-friendly.
And yes, OK, I could see the potential difficulty. These days even ‘sixpence’ and ‘shilling’ are a foreign language to anyone under forty, and even then (it was a long time ago) their corresponding slang terms would have been confusing.
But to return to the present issue: the American edition I was reading had been adjusted for rather more than a few outdated slang terms. It had been well and truly translated. Taps had become faucets; handbags were now purses; car parks were parking lots, and in one bizarre case a ring road had become a beltway. These are just a few examples; by the end of the first chapter I had begun to wonder if the entire narrative had been relocated.
As I said several paragraphs ago, I read a lot of American fiction, and I do buy books in the US, but since I live in the UK, most of what I read is in the British edition. And now I’m wondering if it’s me or the books: do I simply not notice that an American book has been British-ized? Or do American authors’ British editors feel it’s unnecessary to go to such great lengths to ensure a book is comprehensible to a (slightly) different audience?
And if the latter is the case – isn’t it just a little patronizing to American readers to assume that a British author’s work would need to be translated so thoroughly?
Dead Guy has a lot of American followers, not to mention six contributors. Someone out there must have a view on this. Me, I’m just confused. And disconcerted.