Thursday, 18 May 2017

Harvill, Hyman, Hénaff & MacLehose

At the end of the last century there was a wonderful series of books being published by what was then the Harvill imprint, under the editorship of Christopher MacLehose. In the end there were at least 230 in this series, most of them translations, all recognisable by the stripe-and-lion on the left-hand-side of the cover.

I bought as many as I could at the time, and have been collecting them ever since when I come across them second-hand. Here are the piles of those I've not yet read...

Sadly, Harvill was swallowed up by Random House, and most of the list left to slide out of print. Fortunately, however, Christopher MacLehose later set up a new imprint, MacLehose Press, much of which is dedicated to fiction in translation. I bought one of their books recently--Sophie Hénaff's Parisian crime novel The Awkward Squad, and found that it was labelled as the third 'Maclehose Edition'.

Investigating further, I discovered these MacLehose Editions seem to be the beginning of  new list of translated books which I hope will come to rival the original Harvill series. Some of the other titles, published and forthcoming, are these:

Back to the Hénaff: it has a lovely and distinctive cover drawn by one Miles Hyman, who has also provided covers for other MacLehose books... well as for other publishers, both English and French. I knew Hyman's work from his excellent graphic-novel adaption/expansion of his grandmother's famous short story of group madness and cruelty: Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery'.

Here are some of the book's pages (click to enlarge):

So, in short: old Harvills, MacLehose books, Miles Hyman's work--explore them all.