Hervé Guibert

Hervé Guibert (1955–1991) was a writer, a photography critic for Le Monde, a photographer, and a filmmaker. In 1984 he and Patrice Chereau were awarded a César for best screenplay for L'Homme Blessé. Shortly before his death from AIDS, he completed La Pudeur ou L'impudeur, a video work that chronicles the last days of his life.

  • Written in Invisible Ink

    Written in Invisible Ink

    Selected Stories

    Hervé Guibert

    Stories that map the writer's artistic development, written with candor, detachment, and passion.

    Hervé Guibert published twenty-five books before dying of AIDS in 1991 at age 36. An originator of French "autofiction" of the 1990s, Guibert wrote with aggressive candor, detachment, and passion, mixing diary writing, memoir, and fiction. Best known for the series of books he wrote during the last years of his life, chronicling his coexistence with illness, he has been a powerful influence on many contemporary writers.

    Written in Invisible Ink maps the writer's artistic development, from his earliest texts—fragmented stories of queer desire—to the unnervingly photorealistic descriptions in Vice and the autobiographical sojourns of Singular Adventures. Propaganda Death, his harsh, visceral debut, is included in its entirety. The volume concludes with a series of short, jewel-like stories composed at the end of his life. These anarchic and lyrical pieces are translated into English for the first time by Jeffrey Zuckerman.

    From midnight encounters with strangers to tormented relationships with friends, from a blistering sequence written for Roland Barthes to a tender summoning of Michel Foucault upon his death, these texts lay bare Guibert's relentless obsessions in miniature.

    • Paperback $17.95 £14.99
  • To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life

    To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life

    Hervé Guibert

    A novel that describes, with devastating, darkly comic clarity, its narrator's experience of being diagnosed with AIDS.

    First published by Gallimard in 1990, To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life describes, with devastating, darkly comic clarity, its narrator's experience of being diagnosed with AIDS. Guibert chronicles three months in the penultimate year of the narrator's life as, in the wake of his friend Muzil's death, he goes from one quack doctor to another, describing the progression of the disease and recording the reactions of his many friends.

    The novel scandalized the French media, which quickly identified Muzil as Guibert's close friend Michel Foucault. To the Friend became a bestseller, and Guibert a celebrity. Guibert continued to document the daily experiences of his body in a series of novels and diaries, mostly published posthumously. To the Friend has since attained a cult following for its intimate and candid tone, its fragmented and slippery form. As Edmund White observed, “[Guibert's] very taste for the grotesque, this compulsion to offend, finally affords him the necessary rhetorical panache to convey the full, exhilarating horror of his predicament.” In his struggle to piece together a language suited to his suffering, Hervé Guibert catapulted himself into notoriety and sealed his reputation for uncompromising, transgressive prose.

    • Paperback $16.95 £13.99
  • Crazy for Vincent

    Crazy for Vincent

    Hervé Guibert

    Diary, memoir, poem, fiction? Autopsy, crime scene, hagiography, hymn? The chronicle of an obsessive love.

    In the middle of the night between the 25th and 26th of November, Vincent fell from the third floor playing parachute with a bathrobe. He drank a liter of tequila, smoked Congolese grass, snorted cocaine...—from Crazy for Vincent

    Crazy for Vincent begins with the death of the figure it fixates upon: Vincent, a skateboarding, drug-addled, delicate “monster” of a boy in whom the narrator finds a most sublime beauty. By turns tender and violent, Vincent drops in and out of French writer and photographer Hervé Guibert's life over the span of six years (from 1982, when he first met Vincent as a fifteen-year-old teenager, to 1988). After Vincent's senseless death, the narrator embarks on a reconnaissance writing mission to retrieve the Vincent that had entered, elevated, and emotionally eviscerated his life, working chronologically backward from the death that opens the text. Assembling Vincent's fragmentary appearances in his journal, the author seeks to understand what Vincent's presence in his life had been: a passion? a love? an erotic obsession? or an authorial invention? A parallel inquiry could be made into the book that results: Is it diary, memoir, poem, fiction? Autopsy, crime scene, hagiography, hymn? Crazy for Vincent is a text the very nature of which is as untethered as desire itself.

    • Paperback $14.95 £11.99