ABOUT SIMON LOUVISH

Simon LouvishThe Louvish ouevre has been ongoing, in book form, since 1979, with a previous stint as documentary film maker commencing in 1970. The bare bones of the biography, as registered by the listings book “Contemporary Authors”, are as follows:

Born April 6, 1947, in Glasgow, Scotland; son of Misha (a translator) and Eva (a teacher; maiden name, Bersinski) Louvish;

Married Mairi Macdonald (television programmer & acquisition executive), October 12, 1979.

Education: Schools, Jerusalem, Israel, 1950-1965.

London School of Film Technique, 1968-1971.
Politics: “Left.” Religion: “No.”

ADDRESSES:

Home – London, England.

Agent–David Grossman, 118b Holland Park Ave., London W11 4UA, England, UK.

CAREER: Freelance documentary film producer and director, 1970-76; London International Film School, London, England, tutor and lecturer (part time), 1978-  .

WRITINGS:

PUBLISHED FICTION – to 2012

A Moment of Silence (autobiographical novel), Martin Brian & O’Keeffe
(London, England), 1979.
The Therapy of Avram Blok, Stein & Day, 1985.
The Death of Moishe-Ganef, Heinemann (London, UK), 1986.
City of Blok, Heinemann (London, England), 1988.
The Last Trump of Avram Blok, Heinemann (London, UK), 1990.
Your Monkey’s Shmuck, Flamingo (London, UK), 1990.
The Silencer, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1991, Interlink Books
(Brooklyn, NY), 1993.
Resurrections From the Dustbin of History, Bloomsbury (London, UK),
1992, published as The Resurrections, Four Walls Eight Windows (New York,
NY), 1994.
What’s Up God?, Gollancz (London, UK), 1995.
The Days of Miracles and Wonders, Somerville House, Toronto, Canada; Canongate, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1997; Interlink Books, USA, 1999.
The Cosmic Follies, ICA & Blokbooks (London, UK), 2004

PUBLISHED NONFICTION

It’s A Gift (booklet) BFI Classics, 1994.
Man on the Flying Trapeze: The Life and Times of W. C. Fields, Faber & Faber, (London, UK); Norton (New York, NY), 1997.
Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers: Groucho,
Chico, Harpo, Zeppo With Added Gummo. Faber (London, UK), 1999; Saint Martins Press, New York, 2000.
Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy–The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy, Faber & Faber (London, UK), 2002; Saint Martins Press, New York, 2003.
Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett, Faber & Faber (London, UK) autumn/fall 2003.
Mae West: It Ain’t No Sin, Faber & Faber (London, UK), 2007; Saint Martins Press, New York, 2007.
Cecil B. DeMille and the Golden Calf, Faber and Faber (London, UK), 2008 Published as Cecil B. DeMille, A Life in Art, Saint Martins Press, New York, 2008.
Chaplin, the Tramp’s Odyssey, Faber and Faber (London, UK), Saint Martins Press, New York, 2009.

In Progress:

THE LOUVISH COLLECTION, Margaret Macdonald Books, UK:

In 2012 – 2013:

The Blok Saga:

  1. The Therapy of Avram Blok.
  2. City of Blok.
  3. The Last Trump of Avram Blok.
  4. The Days of Miracles and Wonders.
  5. The Fundamental Blok.
  6. The Chinese Smile.

AUTHOR DESCRIPTION (from Contemporary Authors listing): “Simon Louvish has written several novels of political satire as well as biographies of famed film comedians W. C. Fields and the Marx Brothers. He once told CA (Contemporary Authors) that his books on the modern State of Israel ‘reflect an unpopular (non-Zionist) point of view, mostly by the medium of satire. I feel that the breach of closed minds by means of jokes, rather than bombs, might be a contribution towards the alleviation of those conflicts. Is this the usual writer’s delusion?,” To which the answer is probably: “Yes.”

Simon Louvish in SevilleMy fiction works have been engaged, since The Therapy of Avram Blok, in the early 1980’s, in an attempt to scrape a little below the surface of these limitless connections which spin us into the web of our own barely visible threads to the universe, to worlds that appear both familiar and beyond our ken, to matters trivial and important, to all that came before us and made us what we are, or all the twists and turns we might take that influence our fate. My particular forte was the region of the Middle East, the State of Israel, its conflicts and its place in the 20th century, the muddy field from which my own upbringing dragged me out. Avram Blok was a suitable alter-ego, who shared some of my attributes while taking on others, and upon whom I could dump the sack of sorrows which he has had to carry now through six expanding volumes…

Two Israel-based thrillers, The Death of Moishe-Ganef and The Silencer, featured another (anti-)hero, the journalist-critic Joe Dekel (“Israel’s only religious anarchist”) whose third story invades and enfolds into the fifth Blok volume, The Fundamental Blok. A yet unpublished fourth outing for Joe Dekel exists under the alarming manuscript title of Mad Jews. No proper publisher has yet come forward with an offer for this tale…

As time has passed, and the nature of popularly published fiction has altered, from the “experimental” era of the 1960’s and `70’s, to the era of new-century “comfort” fiction, favoring entertainment over intellectual engagement, and into the era of digital virtuality, my own fiction has become more transgressive, not in a sensationalist sense but in a more formal way: The books got longer, more rather than less complex, more multi-layered and multi-plotted, less linear, less commercially exploitable and less in line with various sets of received views. While describing myself as “Left” for the American “Contemporary Authors”, I am not sure whether I am sure any more to which side of the spectrum I dress, as the collapse of empires and the growth of new ones blurs old distinctions and casts into the dustbin of history old certainties and categorizations. I do not feel any more confused about the world, or my feelings and beliefs about certain specific issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or wars of invasion and occupation, than I have ever been. It is just that, as I suspect is the case with many, I do not wish, in the words of Groucho Marx, “to be a member of a club that would have me as a member.” In this sense, the books I have been writing about movie comedians and my fictions have become to some extent integrated: The examination of the masks and self-inventions that are common with stage and film actors, particularly comedians, lead to a new way of looking at the many political masks, subterfuges, lies and deceptions (and self-deceptions) that I was already writing about in the Avram Blok and Joe Dekel books.

We are beset by offerings to categorize ourselves and join the clubs of partisan or corporate identities: bombarded by “Your Choice” of television channels, artifacts, material goods or life-styles. Perhaps we should take the advice of Nancy Reagan: Just Say No.

Simon Louvish

On the other hand, we can’t stand aside from everything, and hope the general storms and typhoons pass us by and fail to uproot us from our own physical or mental soil. We are still capable of rational thought – if only just… Even religious orders are beset by the choice between rational and irrational positions, between the humane and the apocalyptic visions of our future.

And so I am not sure if I am living in the world of Avram Blok, or whether I have actually glimpsed a small part of the tear that seems to render humanity so incorrigible in the real mess of history and ongoing events. If there are readers out there who might enlighten me, and themselves, well and good. Just hold the tales of alien abduction, lizards ruling the earth, or ethnic-racial conspiracies – I think those belong elsewhere. A part of the truth may be Out There, but much of it, I’m sure, remains within.

More later, as the merry dance continues.

All the best and enjoy.
S.L.