Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 673

Frankfurt Book Fair 2007
October 7 to 15, 2007

Frankfurt Book Fair 2007
The plot of a short story I will never write: some time in the not too distant future when everyone is a writer, a poet, a dancer, an actor, etc. we will no longer purchase books, purchase theatre tickets, etc. No, instead we will pay people to read our books, see our performances.

Sunday, October 7th: Up at 9 and make coffee for myself and Youco Harada. She tells me about her struggles to create a fashion design business. And her determination to make a success of it. Ulli Lindenmann calls from Darmstadt and asks me to call her when I am in Frankfurt. She and Peter will try to come up and meet me. Steve Murez arrives with more chapters of Diane's novel, Rites of Paris. John Calder calls from London to discuss turning his new extension to his Montreuil home into a small 40-seat theatre. I ask him if he plans to attend the Book Fair and he says it depends upon finding a hotel room. (Back in Paris, I call John in London. He did not find a hotel room in Frankfurt. And he did not attend the Book Fair.) David Lucas and Kostas Papacharalampous arise from the basement and continue with the moussaka production. A quick call to Howard Aster and we discuss my possible travel to Dijon and our drive to Frankfurt on Tuesday morning. People call all morning to be added to the dinner guest list tonight.
In the end, Séamas decides to make it a one-plate affair. It is another delicious meal. As expected Kostas has done a great job. We are about 65. Hamida and Colin Gravois pop in to give Elaine Lee a welcome to Paris hug. A pretty Swedish young woman, Karen Peterson, arrives late via Youco. Evgenija Demnievska is back from her travels in Serbia. She had a major exhibition in Belgrade. There is also a nice couple from Belfast, John & Karen Trew, from Edinburgh, Katrina & John Hefferman, and a delightful couple from Slovenia, Bine Volcic & Katarina Berglez. Another wonderful Sunday dinner…

Monday, 8th: Emma Hope telephones and we agree to meet for lunch today. I will come to her exhibition in the Tuilleries Gardens. I know that Jeri Webb is flying into Paris today from Cairo and we have a tentative date to dine tonight. Galina arrives to help put the atelier back in order. I quickly head out the door and take the Bus No. 68 to my lunch date with Emma. Get a phone call on the bus and it is Jeri. I suggest we speak again about 6 when we can meet to go to Susie Hollands' place to select the next exhibition, photographs by an ex-Time/Life photographer, Chuck Rapoport. Collect Emma at her Stand and she introduces me to an attractive Swede. Her name is Pernilla. I tell her I have a Swedish son who lives in New York City. Emma also introduces me to an attractive Croatian named Iva. Iva models shoes for Emma. The two of us grab a quick lunch. Not very good, but it is always wonderful to be with Emma. What an attractive woman she is! We discuss Peregrine Eliot, Heathcote Williams, Rory Knight Bruce, Roddy Martine, John Calder. She is a big John Calder fan.
Quick trip to the Village Voice Bookshop. Long pause at the SNCF Boutique in Denfert where I decide to purchase tickets for Frankfurt. Home afterwards to rest a bit in a very clean atelier. Arrange to meet Jeri at Susie's flat in the rue St. Placide. To my surprise she beats both Susie and yours truly and is sitting, talking with César Estazy Herrera, Susie's husband from Chili. Susie arrives minutes later. We select 14 photographs for the exhibition that we hope will go on the wall Monday, the 22nd of October.
Jeri and I walk the short distance to the Blvd Montparnasse and select the Brasserie Fernand for our dinner. Learn all about her trip to Cairo, Luxor and other parts of Egypt. And for the second time in one day, I am treated to a meal by an attractive woman. Hooray for liberated women! Our waitress, Maria, is from Portugese West Africa, and is a delight. We walk to metro Vavin, embrace and she heads North and I head South and home.
Youco, David and Nina are at the kitchen table and the last of the moussaka has been eaten. Youco is suddenly optimistic because someone has expressed an interest in her collection. She passes me two presents: a large tin of chocolate and a book token. She again thanks me for letting her stay and I tell her she was a wonderful guest and that she is always welcome wherever I live.
Upstairs to pack. Get a call from Howard Aster and I tell him I will meet him tomorrow morning in Dijon. Ernie Eban calls from London. Our old friend, David Robins, is no longer with us. Apparently it was a painless death. At least that is good.
Tuesday, 9th: The alarm is set for 5.30, but I am up at 5 and drinking coffee when the alarm goes off. Quickly finish packing and rush outside and the taxi is there. Minutes later we arrive at the Gare de Lyon. Manage to change my ticket to Frankfurt to one to Dijon. And I am cheerfully handed 71 euros. While I am waiting to board the train, call Howard and tell him I am on my way.
Howard is waiting for me and we are soon on the autoroute to the East. A smooth, painless non-stop trip. We arrive at the Messe in four and one half hours. Help Howard to build his Stand. Then we drive to Bergerstrasse and walk to Hilton de la Hunt's apartment. Hilton produces delicious coffee and we discuss the dinner party at the Persian restaurant scheduled for Thursday night. Howard and I walk the short distance to Pistazie at Baumweg 20. The place looks lovely. We talk with an attractive woman who does not speak English or French, but we are assured all will be well on Thursday.
Howard and I meet Hilton at Knossos, a Greek restaurant that Hilton seems to make his second home. Tonight they are welcoming a party that is hosted by Penguin Books. Hilton has fixed the encounter and is extremely nervous when at 8, no one has arrived. But soon all is well when the guests begin to arrive. I wonder how many of them know Penguin's history. I was a friend of the founder, Sir Alan Lane, and his wife, Lettice. He came many times to my bookshop, The Paperback. I even edited a book for Penguin entitled Traverse Plays that contained eight one-act plays that were all premiered at the Traverse during my time running the theatre. Hilton, Howard and I have a delicious lamb dinner. Hilton's friend, Irene Lehmann, joins us. Late, Howard walks with me to his car. I extract my bag. Find a taxi and the driver from Serbia and I talk all the way to Sophienstrasse. I mention Dusan Mackavejev and Goran Bregovic. No reaction from him.
Upstairs drink a glass of wine with my hosts, Erich and Brigitte Bernhard. They tell me about their recent trip to Wales where they had an enjoyable three weeks visit. We discuss Carsten and Tanya Hansen and the fact that they are not here with us. We also talk about Martin Lehberger. Another person who should be here with us. We agree to dine together tomorrow night.
Wednesday, 10th: My hostess arrives with an expresso as well as a large pot of coffee. She wishes me a warm good day as she slips out to her National Library position. The coffee works its magic and I am soon up and into action. Out the door and get the tram to the Messe. Walk straight to the Turkish Stand in Hall 5. No sign of Müge or Semih, so leave a message for them. Continue on my way and ask a man at the Jaco Books Stand about Alek Stefanovic. He says that Alek is not coming to the Messe this year. See Inge Feltrinelli at her Stand, but she is busy talking with someone.
Walk up another floor in Hall 6 and enter the Press Center. Spot immediately Yaliz Akbaba. She is as wonderful and as pretty as ever. Learn that she has become a "school girl" again, studying education at the University of Mainz. She is working at the Messe only for this week. A fellow standing next to us speaks to Yaliz and she tells me after he has left us that he is the Director of the Press for the Book Messe. Yaliz excuses herself for a minute and returns with Anne and Sarah Qureshi (mother and daughter). Sarah tells me she has been fullering since our meeting last year. She and Yaliz say they will come to the party tomorrow night (but they don't). Yaliz and Sarah excuse themselves, but Anne and I continue to talk. Tell her that I am still waiting for that telephone call from Stockholm that will announce I have won the Nobel Prize. Anne asks if I am expecting it for Literature. No, not yet for Literature. I say I am expecting it for Economics. We continue to discuss "fullering". Collect my press pass, give Anne two kisses and continue to the Agent's Center. Ask for Jenny Brown. She is not listed as being here. Ask for Mary Clemmey and am given her Stand number. Go inside and spot Mary straight away. She is with Bridget Impey, the same woman from South Africa who Mary introduced to me a year ago. We chat briefly and I announce the Künstlerkeller is closed and that we will be dining in a Persian restaurant on Thursday night. Mary reminds me of her Persian connection.

In Hall 8, bump into Roger Ward from Paris. Then go to collect a diary from The Publishers Association. Stroll about and see Jamie Byng talking to an attractive woman, so do not interrupt. Wave to Francis Bickmore, a senior editor at Canongate. (Later read an interesting article he has written in The Bookseller). Head for The Guardian Stand and see Roy Read first, then Helen Read, and then Mylène Sylvestre. Also see Norbert Pech. I am introduced to Lisa Darnell. She is in charge of the book publishing division of The Guardian. We end up talking a long time. Roy hands me a packet of photographs he took at last year's Messe and they are all excellent. Lisa and I discuss my Faber autobiography, Thanks for Coming!, and she suggests I speak with her friend at Faber, Julian Loose.

Roy Read and Jim Haynes
photograph ©Helen Read

I tell her I am a bit nervous talking with Faber because my autobiography caused a minor civil war inside the publishing house with the Young Turks severely routed by the old Conservative forces. Lisa says that there have been lots of changes at Faber since then and that I should meet Julian. I promise to do so. While sitting here at the Guardian Stand, I keep thinking I must write an obituary for them about Jean-François Bizot and David Robins.
Head for row L and the Mosaic Stand. Misha Aster has arrived from Berlin and is sitting talking with his father, Howard. Lots of congratulations are in order for Misha's new book, The Reich's Orchestra 1933 - 1945: The Berlin Philharmonic & National Socialism. They give me a card from Adriana Rossi and report that I just missed her. Adriana and I met in the Tam Tam Club in St. Petersburg in the 1990s. Natasha Perova passes and we exchange embraces. Walk up row L to her Stand which she is sharing with Marion Boyars and Peter Owen - both represented by daughters. Neither one is at the Stand at the moment. But a woman approaches Natasha and it seems she is a friend. I am introduced, but fail to remember her name. She is with Rowohlt and I ask if she remembers Ladig-Rowohlt. She doesn't. I ask if she knows Inga Krahn. She doesn't. She says that she has only been with the company one year. Excuse myself and walk down row L and meet Gwyn Headley. He offers me a coffee and it is delicious. He has brought his own coffee-maker from London. We talk a bit about the Messe and the party on Thursday night.
Then encounter Vladimir Stabnikov from Moscow. We talk about Victoria and Paul Getty. He and I first met in Moscow in August 1992. Leave him and decide to purchase an ice cream cone. Jamie Byng looms into view and I offer him a cone and he accepts. A fellow comes up to Jamie and I am introduced. He is someone from New York City, but I do not catch his name.
Walk back up row L and join Howard and Misha. Reubin and Hari Anan from Ottawa join us. Then Raul Morales and his daughter, Silvia, arrive. Howard and I go for a walkabout and we let the four of them talk business. Howard tells me about a Dr. Meyer who was at DVA (München) in Germany who originally accepted to take a chance on an unknown young Canadian, (Misha). Later the same Dr. Meyer is no longer with DVA (he landed at Herder Verlag) and could not share in the glory of the rave reviews that have greeted Misha's book.
Walk over to row C and pass de Harmonie's Stand. See Elsbeth talking with a group of people and when she sees me, she says that Jaco is around and about.
Back to Mosaic Stand. Howard asks me to watch the Stand while he goes to Random House Germany in Hall 3. No problem. Natasha Perova passes and she and I have a good long talk about her two daughters. One is still living with her in Moscow. The second one is living in the USA.
Mike Shatzkin visits and we have a long talk about the Edinburgh Festival. Mike wishes to come next August with his wife, Martha, and maybe a few more friends. A woman named Paulina Fariza, who is with the publishing house, Alba, in Barcelona, arrives next to see Howard. I tell her he is in Hall 3, but will be back soon.
Howard returns and I go for another walkabout. Pass Bloomsbury and no sign of Alexandra Pringle. Bump into Jenny Brown and we have an intimate talk about the Edinburgh Festival, about her and Sandy's (plus their two young sons) trip in a few days time to Marocco. Lorraine Fannin joins us and invites me to the Scottish Stand party tomorrow at 5.
This time I am lucky. Join Elsbeth Louis and Jaco Groot at the de Harmonie Stand. We discuss Jessica Craig, Medi and Bernard "Willem" Holtrop and Roland Topor. We talk about Peter Van Straaten and I report his exhibition is still up on my walls, that he has many more fans now. Jaco has a quotation from one of Peter's books that he says is typical: "I don't want to grow old with you. I want to stay young with you." Hooray for Peter Van Straaten! Tell them that I am now a Consultant to the Calcutta Film Festival and they are to let me know if they see or hear of anything that we might consider screening in the Festival. Straight away, they both have suggestions.
Sit at Mosaic Stand. Call my hosts to see if they would be free to dine tonight. Leave a message on an answering machine. Minutes later, Erich calls me and says yes they are free to dine. I tell him I will be home in thirty minutes. Walk quickly through Hall 5 and 4 and head for the tram. As soon as I am back, we all three decide to eat in a local restaurant called Caravan. I think it is Tajikistan cuisine. In any case, the food is delicious and we three over-eat. The waitress is impressed when I speak a few words in Russian to her. We somehow make it back. And are soon in our beds.

Thursday, 11th: Another great night's sleep. Once again I am spoiled with expresso and a large pot of coffee. We both reflect on the delicious dinner we shared last night. Brigitte reports she has something scheduled tonight and will be back late. I report that I will be dining in a Persian restaurant and will also be home late.
Tram to the Messe and go straight to the Turkish Stand. I spot Müge and she is with two men. Nevertheless throw her a few kisses. She gets up and introduces me to them. They are with a publishing house in Zürich. I mention Diogenes and no, it is not Diogenes. She and I make a date to meet at her Stand at 12 Noon.
Continue walking through Hall 4 and see an attractive woman looking bored. We talk briefly and I learn that she lives in Heidelberg and must commute daily to the Messe. No fun. She says that she is tired. Suggest she come and dine the next time she is in Paris. She says it will be in December, so give her the Chicago Tribune article.
Walk to the Press Center and see Yaliz Akbaba straight away. She tells me there is a press conference about to start. It will deal with the fact that Turkey is Guest of Honor next year at the Messe. This year it is Catalonia. Yaliz introduces me to a fellow she says is in charge of Latin America for the Messe and I exchange a few words with him in Spanish. Leave them. Pick up two catalogues of Catalan writers - one for me and one for Karolina Blåberg. Pick up a magazine about publishing in China for Howard Aster. See Sarah Qureshi and we exchange kisses.
Bump into Pete Ayrton of Serpent's Tail and ask him if he has won the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. He smiles and says he has not heard the winner announced yet. It is due out today. I mean to ask him about Paris Noir, but forget.
Go to Agents Center and ask for Jessica Craig and learn she has left the Messe. (Later I learn why. The Observer, (14 October), has an article by Carole Cadwalladr about old friend, Michael Sissons' literary agency, PFD and the civil war under way there. At the Fair, someone tells me that Michael recently sold the agency for four million pounds sterling which, if correct, is $8,000,000. And to think, he once slept on a mattress on my floor in my Edinburgh flat.) I ask the attractive information woman her name. She says "Eva". I tell her: "Hello, Eva." Her associate next to her laughs at our dialogue. Give her a Chicago Tribune article and tell her she can come and dine and that she can also bring her associate. Go inside and greet Mary Clemmey, but she is talking to someone, so do not stay. She asks what time we are expecting people and I reply "anytime". Continue my stroll. See a young attractive cleaning woman and wish her "Good morning!" and am rewarded with a glorious smile.
Meet Norbert Pech and we walk together to the Guardian Stand. Ask Helen if I may accept her offer to store a bag of books and catalogues until noon tomorrow. She says it is not a problem.
Continue to Mosaic Stand. Howard is about to have a meeting with Raul and his daughter, Silvia. Raul asks if he can get drinks for anyone. Howard asks for a coffee. I suggest to Raul that I can collect it all from the café across from us. He hands me fifty euros ad tells me his requests. Misha arrives and comes with me. We order three coffees and two juices. We pass the drinks to the appropriate individuals and I pass the change to Raul's daughter. Then apologize to Raul for what I have done. He says it's OK, but I do have to pay for his dinner tonight. Earlier both Raul and Silvia suggest that I come to the Guadalajara Book Fair this coming November. I tell them that I would love it, but that I will be attending the Calcutta Film Festival and will not be home in Paris until the 22nd. They suggest I fly to Mexico the 24th . This year Colombia is the Guest of Honor. Next year it will be Cuba again. I promise to try and come next year.
Sit at the café opposite Howard's Stand. Share the table with Nandini Rao, the Director of Orient Longman, and with his associate, Madhu Reddy, Senior Vice-President. The company deals with books for schools and universities and is based in Hyderabad. We talk about India and I tell them about my three trips there over the years, my connection with the Kolkata Film Festival and some of the many friends I have made there. Give them my address in Paris and invite them to dine when they are next in the city. They give me their cards and suggest I call them if I ever make it to Hyderabad. They depart for an appointment and their place is taken by a fellow who is half-English, half-French. He is with an attractive blonde from Norway. She is a printer. Move across to sit with Howard and Misha. Walk over to row C and to the de Harmonie's Stand. See Jaco Groot and he says he is rushing off to a meeting. I ask the time and realize that I am late for my 12 Noon meeting with Müge. Rush to Hall 4 and the Turkish Stand and see Müge straight away. I apologize for being late. She introduces me to an associate, Basak Ertür. It seems Basak has a 2 o'clock appointment with Pete Ayrton. I tell her I will meet her at Pete's Stand and introduce them. Give Müge a copy of White Washing Fences and then leave them to return to Hall 8. An all too brief a meeting with Müge and do not meet Semih at all.
Hello to Lisa, the young woman from Heidelberg, at the Italian publisher's Stand.
Back to Mosaic and learn that I have missed Roni Braun again by a few minutes. Damn.
Talk to three women from Utrecht when I hear them chatting away in Dutch and understand certain words (like de Harmonie and Busy Bee). They are off to meet Elsbeth at de Harmonie. Claudette Halkes gives me her card. She is with a company called Snor.
It is about 2, so head for C973 and Pete Ayrton's Stand. But Pete is not there. And then I remember our conversation earlier. Rush to The Publishers Association Stand and ask Helen Wildman for assistance. She tells me to try L922 and bingo, she is correct. I see that Basak is already talking with Pete. I join them for a minute and tell Pete that I was supposed to have introduced Basak to him. Tell him about the wonderful apartment that is on the top floor of Metis Publications and my delightful stay in this apartment. They both smile as I relate all this. But before leaving them, I ask Pete if I may have a copy of Paris Noir, edited by Maxim Jakubowski and containing a Cara Black story, The Redhead. Peter hands me a copy. The book also contains stories by friends Barry Giford, Sparkle Hayter, and Jake Lamar. (I meet Jake Lamar at a literary event in Paris and show him the book. He had not seen it and was expecting copies to arrive.)
Go to the café opposite Mosaic to purchase a juice and hear two fellows talking behind me about The Yacoubian Building. I mention that I met Alaa El Aswany last August in Edinburgh and that he is an exceedingly nice fellow.
I go again to the Publishers Association and this time Helen Wildman gives me the Stand number for the American University of Cairo. Later manage to meet Mark Linz, the Director of the American University of Cairo Press, and his associate Ulla Schnell. Congratulate them for publishing Alaa El Aswany and ask when Chicago will be available. They reply in December. I ask if I might order a copy from them. They say why not. I tell them that I met Alaa El Aswany at the Edinburgh Festival in August and that I have arranged for the film of the novel to be screened in November at the Calcutta Film Festival.
Stroll to the Guardian Stand. Sit with Norbert and we examine a book entitled Unknown Bown, her lesser known photographs. Edited by Luke Dodd with an introduction by Germaine Greer. It is excellent.
Meet Julian Loose at Faber & Faber Stand. We have a brief talk about Thanks for Coming! And a possible second volume of my autobiography in the future. I give him the Chicago Tribune article. He tells me to stay in touch. Thanks, Julian, I will.
Back at the Mosaic Stand and a fellow says hello to me. His name is Michael Katz and he is a friend of Michael March. In fact we talked on the telephoned only a few days earlier when Michael called me from Prague. He suggests I walk to his Stand. There we have a talk and right all the wrongs in the world. He has a publishing company in Vancouver, Tradewind Books, and was one of the last people to see Ted Joans before he died. We talk about Ted and Laura, Ted's last girlfriend.
Philip Turner, who I met at the 1995 Book Messe via Mike Shatzkin, comes up to me and tells me he is not with Kodansha America anymore. Nor does the company exist in America anymore. He is with Sterling, a publishing house in New York City. We talk about an early Barack Obama book he published years ago.
Go to the Scottish Stand for their 5 o'clock party. Talk with Jenny Brown and give her a copy of White Washing Fences. She thanks me and tells me that she will take it to Marocco next week. Talk with a couple from Århus, Svetlana Makarenko & Steen Piper, and tell them to pass my best wishes to Tanya and Carsten Hansen. Also see the editor of publishing news, Liz Thomson, and we exchange greetings. A fellow passes and he stops and we have a sweet exchange. I invite him to dine when he is next in Paris. His name is Paul Viola and he is with a Swiss publisher, Aurora. Paul has a delightful joke that is worth being reproduced here. "A fellow knocks on a door and asks for something to eat. The woman asks him if he will eat left-overs and he replies it is not a problem. In that case, she says, come back tomorrow."
Back to the Mosaic Stand and four of us (Howard, Misha, Jan and yours truly) depart for the U-Bahn. Michele Laporte sits in the train with us and I introduce her to Howard. She gets out at Willie-Brandt-Platz. We continue to Merianplatz and walk the short distance to Baumweg and the restaurant Pistazie. We are the first to arrive, but soon others begin to drift in. In the end I sit next to Natasha Perova and we have a good talk and a good meal. Mary Clemmey comes late and sits opposite me. The food is delicious and the staff are nice. The price is inexpensive and fair. All in all a good evening. I miss the old Künstlerkeller. But Pistazie has been fun.
After we have thanked the restaurant (and I have paid the bill), we say good bye to various people. Natasha Perova, Mary Clemmey and I head out the door. In fact Howard also leaves with us. But instead of walking to the Merianplatz U-Bahn as I thought we would do, Mary Clemmey insists she knows a better way. Howard walks toward Bergerstrasse and we two blindly follow Mary. Just as we arrive and are about to go downstairs to the U-Bahn train, Mary realizes she does not have her bag. I call the restaurant and speak with Hilton and tell him that Mary has lost her bag and that we are returning to find it. Natasha decides to take the train and not return with us. Back at the restaurant, good fortune prevails and the bag is found. The telephone rings and it is for me. It is Roni Braun from the Charles Bukowski Society and he calls to say how sorry he is to have missed me at the Messe earlier today and failed to make our party tonight. I equally apologize and say that we must meet soon and suggest he come to Paris. He says maybe this might be possible.
Mary, Hilton and I talk to a table of people who have traveled to the Messe from the Far East. I give them the Chicago Tribune article and invite them to dine when they are next in Paris. They seem pleased by this. Outside a taxi is waiting and Mary and I climb inside. We giggle and talk all the way to Sophienstrasse. I ask that my good wishes be passed to Monika Rosenkranz, Mary's hostess and my friend. Upstairs learn that Erich attended a hockey match tonight and that Frankfurt beat Berlin, 4-0. Erich is very pleased by this. Learn that Brigitte had to listen to a lot of speeches and she is not pleased with the evening. We three sit and talk. I wonder out loud who was won the Nobel Prize for literature and Erick announces Doris Lessing. He heard it on the car radio on the way home. Hooray for Doris! Once again we three express our sadness that Carsten, Tanya and Martin Lehberger have not attended the Messe. I tell them about meeting a couple from Århus at the Scottish Party earlier today and that they both knew Carsten and Tanya and that I asked greetings and love be sent to them. I tell Brigitte and Erich that this is my 40th Messe and most of them I have spent in their apartments. It is repeated once again how much I have enjoyed their hospitality. After Brigitte serves Erich and me two delicious chocolate ice creams, I excuse myself and fall into bed. Exhausted and happy.

Friday, 12th: This morning I am up and dressed and packed before there is a sign of life from Brigitte. Nevertheless she produces wonderful coffees at 8.30. She has the day off from the National Library and will make her way slowly to the Book Messe. We embrace farewell and I am off to the Messe. Deposit my bag and jacket in Hall 5. Look for Müge at the Turkish Stand. No sign of her, Semih or Basak. Walk to the Catalan Stand and pick up a few things for Karolina Blåberg. In a booklet, Authors of Catalan Literature, there is information about Jaume Subirana. He and I met at the Lahti Writers' Reunion in 1999 and again in 2005 in Barcelona. He is scheduled to be at the Messe on Sunday. Damn, I will miss him. Next visit the Agent's Stand and no sign of Mary Clemmey. Continue to Hall 8. Pass the Guardian Stand and greet Helen, Roy and Norbert. I tell Roy that he missed the nude dancing girls after he and Helen left the restaurant last night. Walk to row L and meet Peter Owen's daughter and Marion Boyars' daughter, Catherine. Ask them both to pass on my best wishes to Peter Owen and to Arthur Boyars. Natasha Perova is not there, but pick up a copy of War and Peace, a collection of short stories by contemporary Russian authors. Say "good Morning" to Misha and Howard. Continue to row S and talk with Victoria Sutherland's associate from Florida. Almost walk into Random House to see if Sonny Mehta is here. But continue on my way. And then I spot Sonny and he gives me a big smile and a wave. He is with someone, so just return the wave and continue on my way. Later I kick myself for now going inside and talking with Sonny. In retrospect, he did not look like he was talking business. Walk back to row L and this time Natasha Perova is at her Stand and she insists I accept a number of new titles from Glas. What a delightful lady she is! Walk to Mosaic Stand and say my farewells to Howard and Misha. I promise Howard to call Susi Wyss when I am back in Paris and try to make a lunch date with her for Saturday, the 20th. (I do call Susi and she is available for lunch with us.) Walk to row C and Elsbeth is talking with someone, so continue to The Guardian Stand. As I am collecting my stored items, Helen enters and suggests that she give me a large and very strong Guardian shoulder bag. This I accept with great pleasure. I thank her and Roy once again. Say goodbye until next year to them and Norbert Pech and go out to take the shuttle bus to the front gate. Another Book Fair is over and there are many things I did not manage to do. I wanted to meet Sarah Oliver's publisher. But it has been a packed three days. Collect my bag and jacket and walk to the tram stop. Purchase water and pastry and head to the correct platform. I am told the train will be fifteen minutes late. Find a place to sit and read today's Guardian. The front page features Doris Lessing and her surprise on learning that she has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Inside there is a loving obit of David Robins written by Ian Buruma, with an additional note from Dick Pountain.
The train pulls into the platform and when I find my seat discover that I am in a compartment with an attractive woman and her two daughters. When I ask the woman if she speaks English, she shakes her head and says no, But she proudly announces that her two daughters do. They must be 10 and 8 and their English is excellent. They tell me that they attend an international school in Frankfurt, that their mother is from Italy and that they are on their way to visit their mother's father in Zürich. I give everyone in the compartment copies of the Chicago Tribune article and invite them all to dine in Paris. The two young girls tell me that they have been to Paris and to Disneyland. Soon it is time for me to leave them in Karlsruhe and dash to a French TGV and the trip to Paris Est. This time sit with a father, mother and daughter from Stuttgart on their way to spend a weekend in Paris.
We finally pull into the Gare de l'Est and I am out the door and rush to the taxi stand. The Vietnamese driver tells me how much he likes America and Americans. He seems to hold no ill feelings even thought he left Vietnam because of the war and traveled to Paris when he was very young. He says that he knew no one in the city, but eventually met his future wife, also from Vietnam, here and that they have been happily married for forty years and have two sons in their 20s. His wife left Paris earlier today to visit her sister in America and will be away for two weeks. He does not know how he will survive without her.
David Lucas is sitting in the kitchen when I arrive. He tells me that Richard Gonda, Kyle Roderick's from New Zealand, is due to arrive in a few minutes. And he soon is with us. Richard is very unhappy because he thought he was here to see New Zealand win the Rugby Championships. And now they have been knocked out. Nevertheless, he has tickets for the remaining matches. Deposit his bags in the upstairs guest room and he goes out looking for friends. I have a quiet evening at home. Watch the 1973 Louis Malle film, Pretty Baby, with Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Keith Carradine. I had never seen it and found it excellent. Very bold material about a young girl living in a bordello in New Orleans with her prostitute mother and the other prostitutes. And her virginity is sold to the highest bidder. I do not think the film could be made today in Puritan America. I happen to know the building in St. Charles Avenue where a lot of the film was shot. When I am in New Orleans, I often have a drink there with old friend, Meade Evans.

Saturday, 13th: Spend most of the day answering the telephone from people wishing to book for tomorrow's dinner. Also write a first draft of this Frankfurt Book Fair report. Talk with Olivier Joly and Connie Borde about the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth. In the evening, watch the England / France rugby semi-final. Antonia calls from the South of France during the match with France ahead. Then in the last five minutes, England pulls out a victory. So I call her and congratulate her.

Sunday, 14th: Kostas makes his first ratatouille and I have a taste at noon and it is delicious. Of course! By 3pm, I have finished a second draft of this report. And fifty people have booked for tonight's dinner. In the end , we are only 40. Bizarre. Great weather and great food. Maybe they were home watching South Africa beat Argentina in rugby. Still this is the lowest number in a very long time.

Monday, 15th: Go to a 11 o'clock appointment with Dr. Zeitoun. We discuss cinema and literature and discover he is also a fan of The Yacoubian Building. He pronounces that I am well and fit but need to lose two kilos and to walk more. And that I am to have a stress test before the end of the year. Return home and Beatriz Belfrage arrives from London for a week's visit. She brings jam and several photographs from the photographer, Oleg Micheyev. His gifts. Oleg is an amazing photographer. In the afternoon meet Dolly West in a Café next to the Village Voice Bookshop and she gives me the manuscript of her play to read. We talk about Samuel Beckett, his nephew, Edward, plus John Calder and James Knowlson. Go to a reading in the evening at Shakespeare & Co. Sit next to David Turner and Mary Blake and behind Jake Lamar and his delightful wife, Dorli. Two Faber authors read tonight: Lucy Wadham and James Bradley. Lucy is from London but lives in Paris. James is from Sydney, but is living in the Cité Internationale des Arts for six months. After the reading, lots of questions and then Sylvia Beach Whitman produces wine for everyone. Talk a bit with James and tell him that I am also a Faber author. Thank Sylvia for advertising my autobiography when she tells everyone "Thanks for Coming!" This makes her laugh.

In just over three weeks I will fly to Bombay (or Mumbai if you wish), then to Calcutta (or Kolkata) for the Film Festival and a wonderful ten days watching films, eating wonderful food at great parties and meeting old friends and discovering new friends. I will fly to Paris from New Delhi on the 22nd (Thanksgiving Day) and dine that night with Peter Cyrus and a number of friends.
My future here at Atelier A2, 83 rue de la Tombe Issoire is up in the air. The atelier is on the market and people are coming to see it. Maybe it will be sold by the New Year. Maybe I should contact old friend, Michael Sissons, to see if he would like a Paris "pied-a-terre". Future plans include the possibility of purchasing a small 30 to 40 room hotel in Paris. We hope to continue the Sunday night dinners. Maybe in the hotel, maybe a movable feast. I still have to deal with Emile-the-Rat and this could affect many decisions. He claims I owe him 300,000 euros and this is a complete lie. I still want to travel and visit friends in Poland, the Ukraine, the USA and Buenos Aires.
Many friends are upset that my atelier will be sold. In many ways, I would love to not sell it, create a situation where it can continue to bring pleasure to hundreds, indeed thousands, of people from all over the world. Several friends have suggested that if everyone who ever stayed here and dined here were to send me a small sum of money, say $100, then this might produce enough capital to save the day. But winning a Nobel Prize or a McArthur Fellowship would do the same.
And I still want to write and to publish.

 
 

News flash: No home should be without the following new cookbook: THROW A GREAT PARTY, inspired by Evenings in Paris with Jim Haynes by Mary Bartlett, Antonia Hoogewerf, and Catherine Monnet. Illustrated by Trish Nickell.

This long awaited book will be available in November. Special pre-publication orders accepted now. ($16.95 plus shipping)

 
Jim Haynes
October 2007

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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