Gilbert Adair, award-winning novelist, film critic and essayist, scriptwriter and award-winning translator of Perec, died on Friday at the age of 66. Many tributes appeared in the press over the weekend.
Author of works such as The Evadne Mount Trilogy (an homage to Agatha Christie's novels), THE HOLY INNOCENTS, his first novel which was filmed by Bertolucci as THE DREAMERS) and translator of George Perec's 1969 novel written without the letter 'e', LA DISPARITION, which was published in English as A VOID. Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian remarks that this was a challenge Adair could not resist' and 'his single most gasp-inducingly clever achievement'.
In another tribute in The Daily Telegraph, Jake Kerridge notes that Adair's novels are 'witty, allusive, full of cultural jokes both high (Evadne's catchphrase is 'Great Scott Moncreff!) and low ('This time' said Evadne, 'it's personal')...the honesty with which Adair faces his own regrets and inadequacies makes this book extremely poignant as well as riotously entertaining.'
Mike Higgins, in The Independent, reflects that when Gilbert was the chief film critic of The Independent: 'As he pronounced upon, damned and just occasionally approved of the week's offerings, he did so in a voice that deprecated its owner's undeniable cinephile authority - a ludic, knowing quality that extended beyond his writing on film.'
In his moving tribute to his close friend in The Observer, novelist Henry Porter observes that in the last year of his life, Gilbert discovered kindness and compassion:
'Gilbert was an extraordinarily fastidious and cerebral person, who veered towards scepticism and a wry suspicion that life always disappointed in the end. Yet this discovery that kindness was the rule rather than the exception in the scores of people who treated and helped him over the year was a revelation...He will be missed greatly by his admirers and friends for his unique intelligence, talent and delightful company. He leaves a void, in more ways than one.'
Blake Friedmann were proud to represent his books and scriptwriting for the past 29 years, beginning with his extraordinary 'Alice' novel, ALICE THROUGH THE NEEDLE'S EYE, the first-ever 'Alice' pastiche Macmillan ever published, even though, as the original publishers of the Lewis Carroll books, they were offered many.
A few press comments on his novels:
'As a writer, Gilbert Adair is something of a polymath who defies categories ... as you surrender to Adair's narrative conjuring tricks, the novel reveals itself to be a witty and thoroughly engaging Chinese puzzle of a book that confirms him as one of the most inventive writers working today.' - Attitude Magazine
'I read this book in a constant state of admiration: smiling, chuckling and often laughing out loud.'-- Philip French, The Observer
'This is a delicious confection; an expert pastiche full of clever jokes and a gripping murder mystery. Adair provides a perfect tribute to Christie in every respect save one: it is far too well written.'-- Michael Andritti, London Lite
'The English author Gilbert Adair is a vocal imitator of the first order, who parodies and even surpasses his role models. But he doesn't show them up, he just takes a bow … For Adair, the fact that literature almost invariably alludes to literature is the origin of an exhaustless lust to play with parody and irony … Gilbert Adair is an intimate connoisseur of literature and an extremely clever craftsman. He combines ingenuity, wit and precision.' -- Die Zeit
'Diabolically clever and insidiously gripping, a darker, self-referential version of Peter Shaffer's SLEUTH. A fast, compelling read with a stunning but perfectly logical final twist.' -- Michael Dibdin
'The Holy Innocents is an art documentary of a state of mind, a libido in revolt at a period in Paris that none who were there have ever escaped in their insight and dreams.' -- Andrew Sinclair, The Times
'A very funny portrait of an extraordinarily unworldly academic's introduction to the dizzyingly incomprehensible realm of popular culture.' -- Nick Hornby,
And on MYTHS AND MEMORIES:
'A book that we need, and have needed for some time. A witty French sensibility has been brought by an Englishman to an examination of English manners and morals as they are now ... he has given us a brisk survey of ourselves, both piquant and riveting. This is a book not to be missed.' -- Anthony Burgess
On his Perec translation:
'The translator's dazzling feat of re-creation conveys the author's near-magical cleverness while preserving an underlying seriousness that makes the book much more than a mere curiosity.' -- The New Yorker
'Adair's energy and ingenuity are almost bottomless … The novel's flippancy of tone, fluctuations of register, and eerie precision have all been maintained, along with the excess and the exuberance.' -- Times Literary Supplement
'Gilbert Adair has now shown quite brilliantly that a lipogrammatic text in one language can be more than adequately done in another, retaining not only the alphabetical constraint but much of the virtuosity of the original.' -- London Review of Books
a madman or a genius to want to translate this accursed book into
English. In Gilbert Adair it has found both. '-- The Guardian
HOLLYWOOD'S VIETNAM: Proteus 1981
ALICE THROUGH THE NEEDLE'S EYE: Faber 1984
MYTHS AND MEMORIES: Collins 1986
PETER PAN AND THE ONLY CHILDREN: Macmillan 1987
THE HOLY INNOCENTS: Heinemann 1988 (republished as THE DREAMERS, Faber 2004)
LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND: Heinemann 1990
THE DEATH OF THE AUTHOR: Heinemann 1992
THE POSTMODERNIST ALWAYS RINGS TWICE: Fourth Estate 1992
FLICKERS: A History of the Cinema in 100 Images: Faber 1995
THE KEY OF THE TOWER: Secker 1997
SURFING THE ZEITGEIST: Faber 1997
A CLOSED BOOK: Faber 1999
THE REAL TADZIO: Short Books 2001
BUENAS NOCHES BUENOS AIRES: Faber 2004
THE ACT OF ROGER MURGATROYD: Faber 2006
A MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR OF STYLE: or Evadne Mount Rides Again: Faber 2007
AND THEN THERE WAS NO ONE: Faber 2009
Please click on the following links to read more tributes to Gilbert Adair.