And the praise just keeps on coming . . .

“The little book Hotel Ortolan is beautiful, both photos and text, and the photos are a special pleasure because they’re so different from the mass of digital images out there.”  Cordula Güdemann

“A new book by Tom Whalen is an event. A new limited-edition book by Tom Whalen, limited to 125 copies of which over 50 have sold in the first two days, is an event you want to get to before you turn into a bookless pumpkin.” 
—Peter Cherches

“I LOVE Tom Whalen’s and Michel Varisco’s Hotel Ortolan, with photographs perfectly suited to the text.  I savored it on second reading as much as I devoured it quickly on the first.  I think Tom Whalen is a national (technically international) treasure!
Suzanne Burns



Bon Voyage, Captain Cap


For those who may have missed our editions of Alphonse Allais‘s CAPTAIN CAP, here’s a treat: Doug Skinner‘s introduction to Vol. IV, THE SANATORIUM OF THE FUTURE:

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Dorothy Parker once remarked that most humorists “milk a formula until it moos in pain.” After so many years of turning in several columns a week, Allais may have been feeling the strain. He admitted in one piece that the punning names he used for his characters were not really that funny. In a series of rather glum installments in 1901 (July 25, July 31, August 9), he simply listed recent patent applications. Contemplating such genuine inventions as the luminous hat, the pedal-operated fan, the combination fishing pole and bicycle pump, the hail parasol, the gloves made from intestinal membranes, the multicolored cane, the sea soap, the summer fez, the metal legs for wooden horses, the powdered cheese, “etc., etc., etc.,” he could only remark, “The fantasists who think they’re so clever when they imagine a dust-catcher for submarines, or a rubber muzzle to prevent snails from dribbling on the salad, are small beer beside certain serious and licensed inventors.” Fact, all too often, trumps fiction, to the eternal despair of humorists.

Black Scat Does Balzac

Samuel Beckett’s classic absurdist play Waiting for Godot  was first presented in Paris on January 5, 1953.

Flashback: Paris, 102 years earlier, where Honoré de Balzac ‘s comedy Mercadet  had its inaugural  performance at the Theatre du Gymnase-Dramatique on August 24, 1851.

Mercadet features a character named “Godeau” who never appears.


Beckett claimed he never read Balzac’s play.

We think not. Thus, next month, Black Scat Books is publishing Balzac’s three-act comedytranslated from the French by Mark Axelrod. This unique limited edition includes an unpublished letter from Samuel Beckett to the translator.

On October 15, 2013, you be the judge.


All Hands on Deck! The Future Has Arrived!


Ahoy mates! —the fourth and final volume in the Captain Cap Collection has arrivedmore madcap tales by the great French absurdist, Alphonse Allais. His hard-drinking, philosophizing, womanizing, & pioneering Captain Cap sails again to some hilariously strange shores. The pun-filled text has been brilliantly translated (and profusely illustrated) by Doug Skinner—and includes a penetrating preface and extensive notes on the text.

If you’ve never heard of “crocodile bridges” or “smell-buoys”, then you simply must read this  literary landmark—the first English translation of  “…one of the great masterpieces of humorous literature.”nooSFere Littérature.

Come on in, the water’s fine…


PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Volumes I – III are out of print..