I’m really happy to share the news that the nonfiction book I’ve been working on for the last three years has found a home. I think it’s my best book, certainly my most personal. Best of all it’s with the excellent independent publisher Unnamed Press. Look for it in August 2021.
Author: Mark Haskell Smith
Coup de Vent
Blown has been published in France under the title Coup de vent which means a “gust of wind” or a “blow of wind” depending. It’s published by éditions Gallmeister, which is new to me, but translated by the excellent Julien Guérif, who has translated my other novels in French.
So far the reception has been incredible. The book has been called “fiercely funny and morally relentless,” among other things, and best of all, French booksellers are getting behind it. I am so grateful that the French embrace my books the way the do. They get it. And that makes it all worthwhile.
I also greatly enjoy my bio in French. Here’s the Google translate rendition:
Hedonist, great lover of gastronomy and pitiless moralist, he particularly appreciates the morally dubious or quasi-illegal countercultures, and those who live their passion at the risk of being stigmatized by society.
In August I flew to Athens to see a production of Clouds by Aristophanes, directed by Greek up-and-coming theatrical whizz-kid Dimitris Karantzas. The production, which was at the Theater of Epidaurus, was fantastic. Imagine Pedro Almodóvar doing ancient vaudeville and you’re half way there. And then my wife and I stayed in Athens, doing research on my new nonfiction project, seeing friends, riding the metro, drinking wine, and basically enjoying our second favorite city in the world.
If you haven’t been to Athens, well, let me just say that there is a lot more to the city than the tourist area and some ancient ruins. It’s a really dynamic place. Lots of creative people. Good food. A slightly anarchic spirit. And you spend a lot of time eating and drinking outdoors. Everything I like, basically.
I’ll have some movie/television announcements in the near future. Suffice to say that things are happening, contracts are being signed, and projects are on the move for a couple of my books… I’m just not allowed to announce them yet.
Thank you for reading!
The Work is Ongoing
I was back in Greece in September. Floating around some of the small Cyclades on a boat, then doing research in Athens for a new nonfiction project.
And, naturally, I ended up at the ruins of a 2,500 year old brothel. When I know more about what this new book is about, I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile… the work is ongoing. Thanks for checking in!
T is for Texas
There are so many wonderful independent bookstores in Texas that it’s almost like there’s some kind of revolution going on. And why not? We need a revolution. Of course going to Texas meant eating lots of Tex-Mex food and then explaining to the Texans that it wasn’t really Mexican food like you get in Southern California. I’m not saying that Tex-Mex food isn’t delicious… it is… but it’s a completely different food culture. Kind of.
I was in Houston at Brazos Bookstore where the excellent staff joined me for margaritas and guacamole at a bar called Under The Volcano next door to the store.
Then I hit Austin and the “indies only” Malvern Books. You can see a video of my conversation with the lovely and talented Jill Alexander Essbaum here
Dallas is having a bookstore boom with several excellent and distinct new bookstores. There’s Deep Vellum.
And of course, The Wild Detectives, where I had my event.
That’s all the events I have scheduled for Blown. There may be more in the future, you never know. But if you missed them, you can read this interview from the Los Angeles Times. It’s almost like being there.
June 12th 2018
It’s publication day for Blown! I’m really excited because I think this is my best novel yet. I hope you’ll buy it from your local independent bookstore and give it a read. It’s been five years between this book and my last novel. Hopefully I’ll write another one, quicker.
There’s an excellent review of it from Arts Fuse.
It you want something fun to read, here’s my list of books for readers on the run from the law.
Enjoy! Don’t forget to tell your friends!
Get ready to get ready
It’s starting to get real. Publisher’s Weekly calls Blown a “…surprising, memorable novel.” And Kirkus Reviews says “Another madcap crime caper, one with a little temper and a dirty mind.”
The book drops on June 12th. You can preorder it at your local bookseller if you’re so inclined. Or maybe pick it up at the airport bookstore on your next trip.
I’m really proud of this book. I think it’s my best novel yet. It’s certainly my shortest.
The Fall Update
I never know what to do in the gap between finishing a book and publishing a book. It’s a weird downtime where other people are doing their thing: copyediting and typesetting, making marketing plans and writing catalog copy, basically all the stuff the author doesn’t do. Usually I sit at home and gnash my teeth and drink excessive amounts of wine. This time I decided to take a little adventure and went to Peru to hike the Inkan trail and see the ruins at Machu Picchu. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and Peru did not disappoint. Not only was the scenery epic, so were the bug bites. Fortunately they have a cure for tired feet and itchy bites called a Pisco Sour. Works wonders.
You can find the cover for Blown in the novel section of this site. It’s beautiful. Once again the work of Dutch designer Bart Heideman. He did Naked at Lunch and Raw: A Love Story. I think he’s a genius. And, once again, the book is published by Grove Atlantic. I love the people there. I really do.
Blown drops on June 12, 2018. You will want to read it. You will want to listen to Yacht Rock. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of a llama.
“The man can tell a story, oh, yes, indeed.”—T. C. Boyle
If you haven’t been reading Mark Haskell Smith, get your sh*t together. Start with BLOWN, which is a blast. It’s a gripping, hilarious, wild ride of a book. I loved it. — Lisa Lutz, The Spellman Files
I’m a big fan of Mark Haskell Smith’s novels and Blown is his best yet: funny and frisky, with unforgettable characters and a surprising, twisty plot that will keep you up way past your bedtime. Beyond all the fun and the ribald jokes is a wise portrayal of capitalism’s dehumanizing effects. A terrific novel. –Edan Lepucki, Woman #17
Hailed as “the slightly more well-adjusted offspring of Hunter S. Thompson and James Ellroy” (Los Angeles Times), Mark Haskell Smith returns with a wildly entertaining satire of corporate greed, sexual desire, and crime in the global financial services industry.
Bryan LeBlanc worked his way up into a plum position on Wall Street as the boy genius of the foreign exchange desk. Surrounded by acolytes of the free market—the U.S. Marines of capitalism, “the few, the proud, the completely full of themselves”—Bryan soon realizes that being honest at a dishonest job is not the path to success. He decides to give Wall Street a taste of its own medicine, and hatches an intricate plan to permanently disappear, with just enough misappropriated money (and sailing classes) to spend his golden years cruising the Caribbean.
But Bryan quickly learns that being a criminal—even a really smart one—is more complicated than he thought, as he finds himself on the run in the Cayman Islands, wanted for murder. On his trail is an unorthodox team of investigators sent by his Wall Street firm, hellbent on reclaiming the millions before their clients notice it’s missing: his boss, who’s not only committed to clearing her name but also escaping her pending nuptials; the investment bank’s collections agent, depressed over a recent break-up with his boyfriend; and an ex-cop from Curaçao, who traded in his badge for spouse-spying as a private investigator.
Wickedly funny, ribald, and sharp-eyed, Blown starts as a simple case of embezzlement and explodes into a fatal high-stakes gamble for money and the pursuit of happiness.
Sexy, funny, and surprising, Blown moves fast and is a lot of fun. Mark Haskell Smith is a writer whose books I am always grateful to have read. – Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer
Blown is a riotously funny, perfectly observed, and maddeningly engaging rollercoaster that tears through a world dominated by greed, cunning, sex, and the extraordinary and ludicrous measures people will go to in order to be happy. Haskell Smith takes you on a wild ride you won’t dare get off until the very end. – Ivy Pochoda, Wonder Valley
Blown is a short and engrossing mystery novel that also stands as a morality play, an ethical fable that suggests that our own selves may be the greatest mystery of all. – Arts Fuse
“Darkly amusing…[Smith] has a fine-tuned ear for witty repartee and a skill for embroiling even his most comically conceived characters in dramas that steer his plot through unpredictable twists and into unforeseeable outcomes. This is a surprising, memorable novel.” ― Publisher’s Weekly
“Smith works out the mechanics of his heist beautifully…Another madcap crime caper, one with a little temper and a dirty mind.” ― Kirkus Reviews
“a likeable American writer” — The Guardian
Gun Shy Trailer
The film adaptation of Salty opens on September 8th in the United States. I’m hoping you’ll go out and see it. It’s really fun.
Here’s a taste.
It’s been a busy summer for me, no lounging by the pool drinking coconut-infused cocktails, and that’s just the way I like it. The big news is that I’ll have a new novel coming out sometime next summer. You can gawk at the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace:
I am really pleased to continue my relationship with Grove/Atlantic. They are the best. I am one lucky writer. For reals. I’m also really happy with the book. It’s funny, sexy, and a bit different. If you like yacht rock, you’ll love it.
I have seen the movie version of Salty and I’m here to tell you that it is really fucking funny; madcap and goofy and surprisingly heartwarming. I haven’t seen Antonio Banderas pull out all his comic chops since Pedro Almódovar’s early films and Mark Valley proves that he is an unsung comic genius. The movie is really well cast, all the actors are terrific. Simon West brought some soul to the movie and Toby Davies, my co-writer on the script, added some hilarous “British-style” humor. Can you tell I’m happy with the film?
The movie has been desalinated, re-titled to Gun Shy which is, you know, weird because there’s not a lot of guns in the story. But that doesn’t take away from the pleasures of watching. It opens September 8th at a theater near you. Go see it! And then tell your friends how the book is better.
It doesn’t feel like it, but things are happening. There is a blip on the horizon. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. SALTY, the movie directed by Simon West, is nearing completion and should be arriving at a theater near you sometime this summer. Or maybe this fall. These things are not quite nailed down. But I assure you, the Metal Assassin song “Teenage Ass Patrol” is going to enter the Billboard Hot 100 with a bullet.
Meanwhile, I haven’t just been lolling around in Los Angeles eating tacos and drinking wine: I have a draft of a new novel entitled Choose Your Own Adventure. It’s something I somehow managed to write between tacos and glasses of wine. I’m still tweaking it before I send it in to my editor. But, if the stars align, it should be out in Spring/Summer 2018. I know it’s a bit of a wait. Hopefully it’ll be worth it. My wife thinks it’s hilarious.
The French edition of Naked at Lunch is due to arrive in bookstores May 18th from the awesome adventure and mountaineering publisher Editions Paulson. It makes sense. It is an adventure, I travel the world, and I do hike up a mountain.
While we wait for all this hilarity to appear in the marketplace, let’s think take our mind off the political shitshow and think about tacos. Tacos and wine.
Once again I find myself spending the autumn in a small college in the American south. This time I’m not living amidst the ruins of a once great tobacco empire known as Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but am in the small burg of Lynchburg, Virginia. Lynchburg, as you may or may not know, is the home of Jerry Fallwell’s Liberty University, an evangelical Christian college who’s mission is “to spread the teachings of Christ across the country whether we need it or not.” Actually, the real motto of Liberty University is “Knowledge Aflame” — which I guess means they plan on burning a lot of books. My oeuvre, I’m proud to say, would probably be the first to go.
I’m not at Liberty University, I’m actually quite honored to be the “Pearl S. Buck Writer-in-Residence” at Randolph College. A small, liberal arts college that has a great English department. I’m teaching a master class on nonfiction and spending a lot of time jamming on my new novel. That’s right! Fiction. From me. If it turns out the way I’m hoping, then I imagine Rev. Falwell would be the first to throw it on the fire.
But aside from eating biscuits and drinking bourbon like a proper southern writer (which I am not, I am an Angeleno posing as a southern writer) there’s lots going on. The film adaptation of SALTY is being edited in London, word is that the film will hit theaters in the summer. I believe Grove is going to put out a tie-in version but we’re trying to figure that out now. It’d be cool to see a copy of the book with a picture of Antonio Banderas on the cover. At least I think so.
And I’m working on a new nonfiction book which, for now, I have to keep top secret.
I’m very happy that Paul Beatty’s brilliant satire The Sellout won the Man Booker Prize. It’s about time comedic novels got some respect! Right on.
What I did on my summer vacation(s)
I’ve been traveling. It’s like the perk of being a writer. You write a book and people want you to come talk about how you wrote the thing. Where do your ideas come from? They’re curious, I guess. And, frankly, I’m curious too. I’d never been to Greece or Bulgaria or Romania before. So when I was invited aboard the Royal Clipper as a guest of Bare Necessities — the company responsible for the “Big Nude Boat” and other nudist “nakations” that I wrote about in Naked at Lunch — I couldn’t say no. I’m glad I didn’t. It was an amazing trip and the Bare Necessities crew were fantastic hosts. I gave a talk and hosted a workshop, but mostly we just bounced around the Aegean and Black Seas eating feta cheese and drinking massive amounts of delicious Greek wine.
After Greece I was a guest of the Festival International du Noir in Frontignan, France. Frontignan is a lovely seaside town near Montpellier. They make a spicy octopus pie in the nearby town of Sete that I highly recommend. But mostly a festival of noir is a chance for writers (and their publishers and translators and press attaché) and fans to get together and consume massive amounts of delicious French wine.
From the south of France we went to Catalunya, where I set up shop in my new favorite office, hung out with close friends that we rarely get to see, and consumed massive amounts of delicious Spanish wine.
For the rest of the summer I’ll be back in Los Angeles. Working on a new novel in the hope that someone invites me to come talk about it when it’s done.
Salty Movie News
Principal photography on the movie version of Salty has begun. It’s been a long time coming and I have to say I’m really excited that my book (and screenplay!) is in good hands with director Simon West. They’re filming in Chile, instead of Thailand, but hey, in the world of international film finance sometimes you’ve just got to roll with it. You can follow their progress on Instagram and Twitter.
And really, is there a better actor to bring Turk to life than Antonio Banderas?
News from Europe (and other news)
Books are popping up in Europe!
Naked at Lunch: Ein Nacktforscher in Der Welt der Nudisten has hit bookstores in Germany. It’s a very handsome looking book.
If you read French you can enjoy Ceci nest pas une histoire d’amour a.k.a. Raw: A Love Story coming to you on June 1st from Rivages/Noir and in 2017, Editions Paulsen will be publishing the French version of Naked at Lunch. I’m hoping they call it Nue au déjeuner because that just sounds like a book I wish I could read.
Naked at Lunch is also coming out in a Chinese edition. More on that later.
Meanwhile, I’m working on a novel I Can See You Had Your Fun for summer 2018. I like that title but, who knows, it may end up with some catchy one word title by the time it’s published. These things happen.
Get Naked in Deutschland!!
Not that the Germans didn’t invent nonsexual social nudism or anything, but after March 14, you can buy the book in German.
It’s been in the works for some time, but now the first of all five of my novels is available as an audio book. The books are being read by Peter Berkrot and I have to say, he’s got a great voice that really brings out the humor and violence of the stories and the humanity of the characters.
Delicious is the first one ready to assault your earbuds. You can find it here or at Audible Books.
Naked Book Signing
Yes. You heard correctly. I was honored to be invited to speak at the Western Naturist Gathering at the De Anza Springs Resort in Southern California. It was great fun to reconnect with several people I’d interviewed — namely Bob Morton and Mark Storey — and to hear from the assembled naturists what they thought of the book.
I also got to do something that I never imagined I’d get to do. Like, ever.
Naked in the UK
I’m pleased to report that Naked at Lunch is now available in the United Kingdom! And it’s being very well received. I was honored to be chosen as Stanford’s “Book of the Month” and here’s a cracking review in The Guardian.