My blog on the late Albert Cossery appeared on Guardian Unlimited today:
“Albert Cossery was a living legend — until he died a few weeks ago. The Egyptian author was one of the last links to the glory days when Paris was the capital of world culture, with Saint-Germain-des-Prés its swinging epicentre.
Having already sampled the louche pleasures of interbellum Montparnasse, Cossery left Cairo in 1945 and relocated to the Left Bank where he hung out on a nightly basis with Genet, Giacometti, Gréco, Queneau, Sartre, Tzara, Vian et al. His first book, Men God Forgot, was published in the States courtesy of Henry Miller, one of his biggest fans. Accompanied by Camus, he cruised the streets of the Latin Quarter, soon acquiring something of a reputation as a Levantine lover. Indeed, by the early 90s he was boasting that he had bedded more than 3,000 women which, if true, would put him right up there in Simenon’s priapic super league. When the American secret services suspected him of being a spy, Lawrence Durrell — another close friend — pointed out that he was far too busy shagging.”