Didier Jacob has come through, writing to tell me that he just interviewed the author at his Paris hotel. Didier says that Gass spoke of “his childhood, and philosophy, and his library, and Wittgenstein, and Hitler.” I had asked Didier about the book’s translator – something Gass and I spoke about in 2005 – and he responded:
His name is Claro. He has worked on several difficult books lately (“Mason and Dixon”, books by Vollmann, and so on). As a matter of fact, he now runs a North American fiction collection at “Le Cherche midi √©diteur”, and this department is called “Lot 49” (see what kind of books he likes). He had been trying to publish “The Tunnel” for a almost ten years, but no publisher here would take the risk. So he finally published it himself. He is a friend of mine and a writer too.
Didier says that he’s now translating the interview for the news magazine he works for, Le Nouvel Observateur. As for The Tunnel itself, the new translation will be published March 1. (A few people are taking notice. You’ll have to tell me what they’re saying.)
Last thing on Gass: Thanks to Mark for alerting me to the Conjunctions Audio Vault, where the author reads from “A Little History of Modern Music.” It looks like this piece of fiction is in Conjunctions’ new 25th anniversary issue, which I’ve ordered but haven’t yet received.