Reading Luc Sante on Paris, Music, and Translation


Whether he’s delving into the lost histories of New York City, exploring his own background, or revealing the story behind an obscure photograph or short story, Luc Sante’s work can serve as the most dynamic of educations. In conjunction with a recent visit to Detroit, Sante spoke with Mike McGonigal, publisher of a pair of his books at Yeti and music editor at the Detroit Metro Times.

The trio of pieces that emerged are essential reading for any Sante fans out there. In one interview, he discusses two ongoing translation projects;  in another, he discusses soundtracks for his existing books as well as two forthcoming titles. And there’s also a long take on how his books (and their titles) came about, with a nod to another cultural institution that we’re fond of around these parts.

Kill All Your Darlings was a phrase I first heard in college, and I wrote it down in my notebook because I thought it would make a good band name—I was always collecting names for potential bands. (Although in retrospect it might have sounded too much like Destroy All Monsters, speaking of Detroit.)

Needless to say, the prospect of several books by Sante due out in the next couple of years is a very enticing one. And for now, this trio of pieces will tide us over.

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