Martin Guiney , Kenyon College. Boris Vian, France, avant-garde, avant-garde novelists, twentieth century, J'irai cracher sur vos tombes, I Will Spit on Your Graves, American, , Black American author, Vernon Sullivan, American pulp fiction, art, political commentary, J'irai, masochistic ambivalence, Americanization. Boris Vian is today considered one of France's foremost avant-garde novelists of the twentieth century, but in his lifetime he was known to a wide audience as the author of one work: J'irai cracher sur vos tombes I Will Spit on Your Graves , a pastiche of American hard-boiled fiction which he published in under the name of a fictitious Black American author, Vernon Sullivan. Vian died twelve years later of heart failure while viewing the film adaptation, which he had no part in producing. Vian-as-author "died" long before that fateful moment, however: first when he perpetrated a hoax, claiming to be the book's translator, not its author; and then by exploiting the commercial potential of American pulp fiction for his own financial benefit the book became the best-selling novel in France in , and made Vian wealthy. Over the course of his literary career, he repeatedly tried to reclaim his novel as legitimate political commentary and "art.
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Boris Vian: still spitting from beyond the grave
The story is set in the United States and revolves around a sexual and racial conflict. Chris Petit of The Guardian reviewed the book in , and called it "dreamily convincing", elaborating: "A main inspiration would have been the slew of Hollywood movies that opened in Paris after the liberation , identified by the French as films noirs. I Spit A fusion of prime US pulp and French sado-eroticism[. The book was adapted into a film with the same title directed by Michel Gast. Vian had already publicly denounced the adaptation while it was in production, but attended the premiere on 23 June