"Francis Carco: The Career of a Literary Bohemian" by Seymour S. Weiner (Columbia University Press, 1952, O.P.)
I have only read two books by Francis Carco. "Perversity" and "Streetcorners." He's the poet of the criminal underground - which means the world of sleazy Parisian bars, the home of whores and their pimps, and a landscape full of alcohol and drugs. A remarkable world, of course! Compared to what he wrote in his native language and published in France, very few of his works were translated into English, and all, I believe, are out of print, which is a horrible shame because he is clearly an important and major voice in French literature.
Through the Los Angeles library system, I found a copy of Seymour S. Weiner's book on Carco, which is both a biography and a literary study of the writer. It's a wonderful book, but on the other hand, it's a weird way to be introduced to Carco, considering there is a literary analysis on books I have never read or even heard of. It is very much like reading about a phantom writer that doesn't exist.
Carco clearly knew what he was writing about. He understood the world of criminals and their needs and wants. He is a combination of Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski - in that both writers cover their territory to the fullest. Weiner, who wrote this book in 1952 or, therefore, published it that year, is not meant to be a public general reading matter but as an academic study of a man and his writing. The best part of the book for me, since I haven't read that much of Carco's work, is the chapter devoted to authors who influenced Carco. Especially François Villon, the criminal poet. Worth tracking down, but a must to read Carco's works. I recommend the two books I have read, both "Perversity" and "Streetcorners" (published by the great Los Angeles located press, Green Integer).
"Hounded Man" by Francis Carco (Thomas Seltzer, 1924)
A tale of a man who commits murder and lives his life after that. Of course, since this is a Francis Carco piece of work, a woman on the streets shares with the leading character's misery, dread, and fear. Also, the city of Paris adds a certain amount of noir existence to the mix. I found a copy of "Hounded Man" in the Los Angeles Library system, and my guess is it probably hasn't been checked out since its publication date, 1924. Carco is an amazing writer who specializes in little psycho-dramas that takes place in Parisian hotels and bars. Why he isn't more known in the English language world is a mystery. I suspect it will only be a matter of time before the New York Review of Books (NYRB) start publishing his noir-like novels of men's darkness and their city (Paris, of course).
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Thanks Tosh. I have heard of this writer but haven’t read him. It good to be reminded of those who make Art in all forms that don’t get credit or are forgotten for the time being.
Tosh, Perversity was a Black Lizard. Rue Pigalle and Frenzy were mass market pbks. I believe Cargo also wrote an essay on the Paris underworld settings of his novels. It was one of the best expressions of love for a place that I have read. If Bohemianism was (is?) a way of life with its own amoral consensus for inclusion, Cargo's work is one of its best examples.