from Malcom Imrie

To Gerard Berreby
Editions Allia
16 rue Charlemagne
75004 Paris

20 May

Dear Gerard Berreby,

We have received a reader's report[1] on Michel Bounan's Le temps du Sida. This confirms my opinion of the book, and I'm sorry to say has led me to decide not to make an offer for English-language rights.

There is much to admire in a book which in many ways represents an important extension of the work of Guy Debord.[2] Bounan places the question of Aids in the broadest possible critical context (precisely the context from which it is systematically removed by dominant ideologies). His arguments for the existence of pathological factors in our 'civilization' which -- rather than a 'virus' -- are responsible for Aids and many other diseases, are eloquent, erudite and persuasive. His general critique of 'marionettism' is impressive. But we found his notion of the 'living subject' as the only motor of history somewhat mystical. His accounts of the homeopathic uses of silica were rather unconvincing. And there is sometimes a barely-concealed homophobia in the book which we found distasteful.

I'm sorry to have to turn it down. No doubt if its subject wasn't a disease who consequences have been so devastating for all of us, I might be less cautious.

Best wishes,

Malcolm Imrie
Commissioning Editor
[Verso Books]

[1] Written in English by Donald Nicholson-Smith.

[2] In 1990, Malcolm Imrie put his name on an absolutely horrible translation of Guy Debord's Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, which was published by Verso Books.

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