Hervé Guibert

Written in Invisible Ink: Selected Stories

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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 AdventuresPropaganda 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.

Author: Herve Guibert

Paperback  Published 19 May 2020  272 pages

Read and Reviewed by Hendri:

"For many people, Hervé Guibert is perhaps known for his relationship with the famous philosopher Michel Foucault. Long before his groundbreaking scandalous book, 'To The Friend Who Did Not Save My Life', that reveals that discreet relationship, Guibert had published more than twenty books, showing his talent in mixing diary writing, fiction, memoir, and non-fiction genre. Dubbed as an originator of French 'auto-fiction', Guibert presents both the beauty and the torment of desire, through his acute observation of bodily excrement, bottoming, slaughterhouse, sauna, and everyday's objects, like a comb, a cotton swab, and a Teddy bear vial. Visceral, erotic, and often disturbing, men are everywhere in these newly-translated texts that took translator Jeffrey Zuckerman five years to complete the research and translation. 'Written in Invisible Ink' brings together earlier texts by Guibert, and equally, the new ones that are finally translated into English for the first time."

"Anonymity comes for us all soon enough, but it has encroached with mystifying speed upon the French writer Hervé Guibert, who died at 36 in 1991. His work has been strangely neglected in the Anglophone world, never mind its innovation and historical importance, its breathtaking indiscretion, tenderness and gore. How can an artist so original, so thrillingly indifferent to convention and the tyranny of good taste ― let alone one so prescient ― remain untranslated and unread?"―Parul Sehgal, New York Times Book Review

"To read Herve Guibert is to be love-stung, pricked, turned on, turned mad, haunted, beguiled. Guibert comes to us 'disguised as lover, standing halfway between declamation and secret' - a precarious, transitory, place, - deceptive, erotic, and true all at once. The range on display in this selection is astonishing."―Justin Torres, Author of We the Animals


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