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To Hell with the Ugly: Et on Tuera Tous Les Affreux Paperback – February 29, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: TamTam Books (February 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966234669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966234664
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,569,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Pulp crime stories are a tough lot. So many of the original pulp writers were hacks. They might turn out something enjoyable sometimes, but it was usually forgettable. Today we have the benefit of only remembering the greats. But, never forget: the greats were pretty much hacks as well, but they were able to mold their form into some kind of demented genius. Recapturing that demented genius is hard if not impossible, for many reasons. Modern day attempts are mostly limp pastiches, or overly kitschy.

Boris Vian wrote his Vernon Sullivan novels, of which this is one, not in the modern day but in the latter days of the original pulp boom. He was still an outsider, though: a French poet, songwriter, and surrealist/fabulist, associated with the likes of Queneau, Camus, and Sartre. While he might have enjoyed the pulp writers, he couldn't achieve their demented genius.

TO HELL WITH THE UGLY is, sadly, just boring. The pieces are there, assembled from an affection for the genre, but there's nothing holding it together enough to make it move. Boris Vian was a fan of jazz, and himself a trumpeter, so how about this: reading his Vernon Sullivan books is like listening to a weekend trumpeter play Groovin' High.
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