With Their Hearts in Their Boots

With Their Hearts in Their Boots

Jean-Pierre Martinet

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Translated, with an introduction, by Alex Andriesse / November 2024 / 4.5 x 7, 112 pp. / 978-1-962728-02-7

Georges Maman is a down-and-out actor sinking into despair and no longer able to scrape by, failing to make his mark even in the porno industry; Dagonard is a loudmouth camera assistant who executes his refusal to read a room with almost surgical skill. Their paths cross one evening in a bar and the two proceed to share a night in Paris: drink, dinner, and psychological torture.

Drawing from his own aborted career as an assistant director in the film industry, Jean-Pierre Martinet’s last novel (before he abandoned his second career as an author) describes a sordid, cynical, and disturbingly humorous descent into the hell of failure and the company we keep there, whether we like it or not.

With Their Hearts in Their Boots is joined by “At the Back of the Courtyard on the Right,” an equally dark and lengthy prose poem of sorts on the work of Henri Calet, a kindred literary spirit whose dimmed star Martinet helped to resuscitate through his brief career as a literary critic.

Jean-Pierre Martinet (1944–1993) wrote only a handful of novels, including what is largely regarded as his masterpiece, the psychosexual study of horror and madness, Jérôme. Reading like an unsettling love child of Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Jim Thompson, Martinet’s work explores the grimly humorous possibilities of limitless pessimism.
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