27 August 2014

The Long November in Late August

"Mysterious" is the word I used when first describing James Benson Nablo. This was four years ago. I'd just finished The Long November and I had questions:
  • How did a man who had never published anything bolt out of the gate with a novel from a major house?
  • Given its commercial success, why is The Long November Nablo's only book?
  • Why did the flurry of editions and printings of The Long November come to such an abrupt end?
It was my good fortune that my initial post on The Long November drew the attention of Nancy Nablo Vichert, James Benson Nablo's daughter. Had it not been for her, I'd have never known the answers. The mysterious Mister Nablo seems slightly less so now, but there remains much more to uncover about his all too short life. His Hollywood years hold promise of more riches.

Today, sixty-four years after the last edition, The Long November is again available as the latest in the Véhicule Press Ricochet Books series. I think it's worth a read. But then I would say that – I was the guy who suggested that it be reprinted in the first place. You'll find the answers to the question posed above in my Introduction.

Look, there aren't many novels out there that take place in Cataract City (read: Niagara Falls), Moreland Lake (read: Kirkland Lake) and Toronto (read: Toronto). This one is the real deal.

Write what you know.

Nablo wrote about rumrunning because he'd been a rumrunner, he wrote about mining because he'd been a miner, and he wrote about women because he had known more than a few. The Long November is a rough novel; back in 1946 its language offended a whole lot of people. If talk of "shacking up", "suck-holing"  and "being screwed without being kissed" offend, this isn't the book for you.

Stronger eggs and skirts will find The Long November just the thing for fin d'été. You Yanks will have to wait for autumn.

Den Lange November
James Benson Nablo [trans. Henning Kehler]
Copenhagen: Nyt Nordisk, 1948

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  1. Vigorous AND lusty.

    It's sure to be a hit with this reader.

  2. Your post makes it all the more mysterious.

  3. I just read Zola's "La Terre" ...I think I can handle Nablo's 'vigorous and lusty! Loved the name 'Cataract City' and your expression 'eggs and skirts'. Wonderful writing in this review!. I just ordered the book. It is available on the 29th September here in The Netherlands. Looking forward to reading it!

    1. Cataract City has long been the nickname for Niagara Falls, ipsofactodotme, though I didn't know until I read The Long November. I'm pleased to learn that at least one copy will be read in the country of my grandfather.

    2. Just curious.....where in The Netherlands do your ancestors hail from?

    3. I believe most came from Amsterdam, though my grandfather - a healthy 95-year-old, living not far from Ottawa - was born in Batavia (now Jakarta). He went to school in the Netherlands and was raised just across the border in Belgium.

  4. Curious I looked for and found a few Nablo screen credits:

    1946 was signed to RKO to work on the screenplay of A Woman With Spurs

    1954 Drive a Crooked Road with Mickey Rooney - screenplay by Blake Edwards based on a story by James benson Nablo

    1958 Frank Borzage's China Doll starring Victor Mature based on a story by James Benson Nablo and Thomas F. Kelly

    1. I cover Drive a Crooked Road and China Doll in the Intro, along with Raw Edge and A Bullet for Joey (my favourite). I think you'll find the last amusing, John.