Forsyth, Frederick: The Day of the Jackal
(researched by Emily Hulme)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Frederick Forsyth. The Day of the Jackal. New York. The Viking Press, 1971. Copyright: Frederick Forsyth Simultaneous first editions: Frederick Forsyth. The Day of the Jackal. New York. Bantam Books, 1971.(paperback) Frederick Forsyth. The Day of the Jackal. London. Hutchinson. 1971. Frederick Forsyth. The Day of the Jackal. London. Corgi. 1971. Frederick Forsyth. O dia do Chacal. Rio de Janeiro.Editoria Record, 1971.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First American Edition published in trade cloth binding. Also published same year in paperback.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
192 leaves, pp.[4] [1-2] 3-183 [184-186] 187-333 [334-336] 337-380
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
None
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
None
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The readability is good due to the clear serif type and wide margins. Each chapter is numbered, but not titled. The first paragraph of each chapter is not indented. 90R. Page size: 215mm by 145mm .; Size of text: 165mm by 100mm.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The book is printed on an off white colored wove paper. The paper is still in good condition, with little wear. There are a few uncut leaves
11 Description of binding(s)
Trade cloth binding, dotted line grain in red and light blue. Red end papers. Dust jacket has a summary of the book on the front and back flaps and a biography and picture of the author on the back. Jacket design by Paul Bacon. Transcription of front cover: Cover has red engraving of the back half of a wolf - like animal, assumed to be a jackal. Transcription of spine: FREDERICK| FORSYTH|[rule 22 mm]| The Day| of the| JACKAL| VIKING
12 Transcription of title page
The Day of the| JACKAL| [rule 86 mm]| Frederick Forsyth| New York/THE VIKING PRESS Title page verso transcription: Copyright © 1971 by Frederick Forsyth| All rights reserved| Published in 1971 by The Viking Press, Inc.| 625 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022| SBN 670 - 25936 - 5| Library of Congress catalog card number: 74-158419| Printed in the United States of America
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Unknown as of 9/20/99.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Slip pasted on back cover: UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA| LIBRARY| RARE BOOK ROOM| Taylor| 1971| .f66 d29
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Viking Press released a second edition in 1971. The different editions had different amounts of pages. Edition 1 had 380, and edition 2 had 357. Bantam Books released two different editions also varying in page number between editions. Source: WorldCat.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
As of October 11, 1971, the sixth and seventh printings had been ordered. This is currently the only information available on first edition printings. Source: Publisher's Weekly Best Sellers list of October 11, 1971.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Editions in English: The Day of the Jackal. Arrow, London. 1995, 1971. The Day of the Jackal. Bloomsbury Books, London. 1994. The Day of the Jackal(Large Print Edition). Chilvers P. 1992. The Day of the Jackal. Curly Publishing, South Yarmouth, MA. 1992, 1971. The Day of the Jackal. Franklin Library, Franklin Center, PA. 1988. The Day of the Jackal. Edito-Service S.A., 1981, 1971. The Four Novels. Hutchinson, London. 1982. The Frederick Forsyth film omnibus. Hutchinson, London. 1987. The Day of the Jackal. Ulverscroft, Leicester, Eng. 1976, 1971. Editions in translation: Chacal[Spanish]. Barcelona: Plaza & JanÈs Editores, 1998 1972. Chaek'al ui nal[Korean]. Soul: Haemun ch'ulp'ansa, 1991. Chih yeh tz'uk'o[Chinese]. Pei-ching: Ch'¸n chung ch'u pan she: Hsin hua shu tien Pei-ching fa hsing so fa hsing, 1981. Den' Shakala[Russian]. Moskava: ëT' - Sentropoligraf, 1993. Den' Shakala[Russian]. Tallinn: [s.n.], 1991. Den pro äakala[Czech]. V Praze: Kin*znÌ Klub, 1996 1975. Den pro äakala[Czech]. Praha: Odeon, 1980. Der Schakal[German]. G¸ttersloh: Bertalsmann Reinhard Mohn, 1971 1993. Der Schakal[German]. M¸nichen: Knaur, 1972. Dzie*n Szakala[Polish]. Warszawa: Amber, 1997 1993. El dÌa del chacal[Spanish]. Buenos Aries: Em*ce, 1972. Jaek'al ui nal[Korean]. Soul: Haemun ch'ulp'ansa, 1991. Jaek'al ui nol[Korean]. Soul: Moumsa, 1984. J?kkaru no hi[Japanese]. Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1973. Il giorno dello sciacallo[Italian]. Milano: Montadori, 1997 1972. O dia do Chacal[Portuguese]. Rio de Janiero: Editoria Record, 1971. O dia do chacal[Portuguese]. S?o Paulo: Abril Cultural, 1980. Schakalen[Swedish]. [S.1.]: ManPocket 1983 1971. Shalaali[Finnish]. Helsindiss?: Otava, 1973. Sjakalen[Danish]. K¯benhaven, Denmark: Lademann Forlagsaktieselskab, ?1970 1980. Wan l,Øop sanghØan[Thai]. [Bankok]: Samnakphim Chapkrae, 1989. Source: WorldCat.
6 Last date in print?
The most recent edition was published by Buccaneer Books, in 1994, as a reprint from the Hutchinson edition. The publisher is currently out of stock. Sources: Books in Print(Virgo) Amzon.com.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
The combined sales of hardcover and paperback copies in 1975 totaled 2,357,926. Source: Hackett, Alice and James Burke. 80 Years of Bestsellers, 1895-1975. New York: R. R. Bowker Co., 1976.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
By 20 Dec., 1971, there were 136,000 copies of the book in print. Between 11 Aug.(date of publication) and 6 Sept., 1971, 75,000 copies were sold. 11,760 copies were sold the week of 11 Oct. 6,124 copies sold the week of 25 Oct. The week of 29 Nov. 6, 000 copies were sold. The week of 13 Dec 13., 8,367 copies were sold. Source: Publisher's Weekly, inspection of issues from 16 Aug. 1971 - 20 Dec. 1971.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Viking's initial advertising budget was approximately $40,000. Ad: pg 176-177. Publisher's Weekly 23 Aug. 1971: "The Viking Press, Fall of 1971 Calendar of Events."The rest of the ad is a 2 page listing of books published between August and December 1971, including The Day of the Jackal. Ad: pg 35. Books & Bookmen Aug. 1971: Half page ad reading "Have you read it yet?" Under the caption, there is a picture of the book. Ad: pg 11. New York Times Book Review 22 Aug. 1971: Full page ad reading "The | Day | of the | Jackal | a novel by Frederick Forsyth" A few quotes praising the book are also listed. Ad: after pg 36. New York Times Book Review. 21 Nov. 1971: Viking Press included an 8 page insert listing all books published during the year. The Day of the Jackal appears on pg. 2, listed with 8 other books under the heading Viking Fictions. A picture of the books is accompanied by a short summary of each book, inculding the price. The quotes, "Truth is beautiful, without doubt; So are lies." - Emerson and "It's only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. "Oscar Wilde, appear at the bottom of the page.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
65,000 advance copies were printed and distributed to friends of the Publisher. Sources: "The Story behind the book". Publisher's Weekly. Vol 200, No. 6. 9 Aug 1971.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
The day of the Jackal: screenplay, by Kenneth Ross. London: Warwick Film Productions, 1972. The day of the Jackal: 35mm film. United States: Universal Studios, 1973. The Day of the Jackal: Super 8mm film. New York: Universal Eight Films, 1973. The day of the Jackal: 3 Discs. Universal City, CA: MCA DiscoVision, 1978. The day of the Jackal: 2 sound cassettes. Downsview, Ont.: Listen for Pleasure, 1981. The day of the jackal: videocassette(BETA) of motion picture released in 1973. Universal City, CA: MCA Videocassette Inc, 1983. The day of the jackal: videocassette(VHS) of motion picture released in 1973. Universal City, CA: MCA Videocassette Inc, 1983. The day of the Jackal: videocassette of motion picture released in 1973. Universal City, CA: MCA Home Video, 1984. Day of the Jackal: 10 sound cassettes read by Davis Rintoul . Boston, MA: G. K. Hall Audio Publishers, 1988. Day of the Jackal: 10 sound cassettes read by David Rintoul. Bath, England: Chivers Audio Books, 1989. The day of the jackal: 9 sound cassettes read by David Case. Newport Beach, CA: Books on Tape, 1989. The Day of the Jackal: 11 sound cassettes read by Richard Brown. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audio Books, 1991. The Day of the jackal: 2 laserdiscs of motion picture released 1973. Universal City, CA: MCA Universal Home Video, 1991. The day of the jackal: videocassette of motion picture released in 1973. MCA Universal Home Video, 1995, 1989, 1971. The Jackal: motion picture. Universal City, CA: Universal Studios, 1997. The Jackal: videocassette of motion picture released in 1997. Universal City, CA: Universal Home Video, 1998, 1997. The Jackal - Collector's Edition: DVD of motion picture released in 1997. Universal City, CA: Universal Studios, 1998. The day of the Jackal: videodisc of motion picture released in 1973. Universal City, CA: Universal, 1998. The book has also been adapted and reprinted in several collections and series: The Day of the Jackal. London: Hutchinson, 1978. Adapted by Dorothy Welchman. A Bulls-eye book for slow learning students. The Day of the Jackal. London: Penguin, 1999, 1971. Adapted by John Escott. A Penguin Reader - level 4. Reader's Digest condensed books. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest Association, 1972. Zarubeahnyi detektiv XX vek. Frunze: Mektep, 1990. A Russian compilation of detective stories. Sources: WorldCat. Amazon.com.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Chacal[Spanish]. Barcelona: Plaza & JanÈs Editores, 1998 1972. Chaek'al ui nal[Korean]. Soul: Haemun ch'ulp'ansa, 1991. Chih yeh tz'uk'o[Chinese]. Pei-ching: Ch'¸n chung ch'u pan she: Hsin hua shu tien Pei-ching fa hsing so fa hsing, 1981. Den' Shakala[Russian]. Moskava: ëT' - Sentropoligraf, 1993. Den' Shakala[Russian]. Tallinn: [s.n.], 1991. Den pro äakala[Czech]. V Praze: Kin*znÌ Klub, 1996 1975. Den pro äakala[Czech]. Praha: Odeon, 1980. Der Schakal[German]. G¸ttersloh: Bertalsmann Reinhard Mohn, 1971 1993. Der Schakal[German]. M¸nichen: Knaur, 1972. Dzie*n Szakala[Polish]. Warszawa: Amber, 1997 1993. El dÌa del chacal[Spanish]. Buenos Aries: Em*ce, 1972. Jaek'al ui nal[Korean]. Soul: Haemun ch'ulp'ansa, 1991. Jaek'al ui nol[Korean]. Soul: Moumsa, 1984. J?kkaru no hi[Japanese]. Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten, 1973. Il giorno dello sciacallo[Italian]. Milano: Montadori, 1997 1972. O dia do Chacal[Portuguese]. Rio de Janiero: Editoria Record, 1971. O dia do chacal[Portuguese]. S?o Paulo: Abril Cultural, 1980. Schakalen[Swedish]. [S.1.]: ManPocket 1983 1971. Shalaali[Finnish]. Helsindiss?: Otava, 1973. Sjakalen[Danish]. K¯benhaven, Denmark: Lademann Forlagsaktieselskab, ?1970 1980. Wan l,Øop sanghØan[Thai]. [Bankok]: Samnakphim Chapkrae, 1989. Sources: WorldCat.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
The book was serialized in both the London Evening Standard and Ha'aretz, an Israeli publication. Source: "The Story behind the book". Publisher's Weekly. Vol 200, No. 6. 9 Aug 1971.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Many aspects of Frederick Forsyth's early life contributed to his careers later as both a journalist and a novelist. He was born, an only child, to working class parents in Ashford, Kent, England. His father, an ex-rubber plant farmer, and a shopkeeper, often talked with Forsyth on current events. They would discuss, while looking at a map, the troubled spots of the world, and his father would share with him stories of his visits to the Orient and the tiger shoots and headhunters he had seen there. This piqued young Forsyth's curiosity and he became very interested in world events. At 17, he decided to satisfy that curiosity and see the world for himself. He left school and toured Europe. Because he had attained near fluency in Spanish, German, Russian and French, there was no language barrier to limit his voyages. He attended the University of Granada, in Spain, briefly, and considered becoming a matador before returning to England and joining the Royal Air Force. He was the Air Force's youngest pilot, at age 19. However, shortly after his 20th birthday, he left the military and started his journalism career at the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press. A few years after that, he accepted a job with Reuters, the international news service. His knowledge of French landed him a spot in the Paris division. He was later transferred to East Germany as the chief of the Reuters bureau there. In, 1963, he returned to London to become a reporter for the BBC. Five years after his return, however, the BBC sent Forsyth back out of the country to be their correspondent in Nigeria. His assignment was to cover the Biafran revolt against the corrupt British-supported government. Forsyth deeply sympathized with the Biafrans, and this was reflected in his reporting, which led to tensions between Forsyth and his employing agency. The BBC wanted him to return to London, but Forsyth did not. Instead, he resigned from the BBC and remained in Nigeria. After the conflict was resolved, Forsyth went back to England to find that no news agency would hire him due to his position on the war. So, he turned to writing novels. All of his novels drew on his experiences around the world. His first offering, The Biafra Story, was a non-fiction account of what had occurred in Nigeria. He followed this with his first fiction novel, The Day of the Jackal. The actual writing of the book took only 35 days, but he feels that he had spent 12 years researching the material. In writing this novel, he used his experiences as a Reuters correspondent in Paris to lend realism to the story. His time in France had made him very familiar with the workings of the OAS, the French terrorist agency that, in the book, threatens to assassinate the French president, Charles De Gaulle. At first, Forsyth had some trouble selling the manuscript. Publishers were reluctant to accept that a book about an assassination that had never happened could be suspenseful. But eventually, it was seen that the focal point of the story would be the how the attempted execution would occur, not the assassination itself. The book was published, and rocketed up the best seller list. Forsyth was awarded the Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for it. Two years after its publication, the book was made into a movie. This novel was the start of Forsyth's highly successful literary career. He published many best selling novels after this one, and showed the same commitment to research and detail in each one. In fact, there is some indication that Forsyth may have financed a coup against the president of Equatorial Guinea for research purposes for his novel The Dogs of War. He also admits to posing as a potential South African arms buyer to study drug trafficking for that same book. That plot almost endangered his life when one of the dealers saw a copy of The Day of the Jackal in a nearby bookstore window and realized that Forsyth was not who he had said he was. Sources: Current Biography Yearbook 1987 Contemporary Authors - Virgo
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The Day of the Jackal received many mixed reviews. On the one hand, many critics admired Forsyth's ability to write a suspenseful novel. "The Day of the Jackal is going to leave a wake of bleary eyed readers - and I doubt that there will be a complainer among them." said Arthur Cooper of The Saturday Review. It was commented upon in almost every review that the book still remained a page turner, even though the reader knows from the beginning that the Jackal's assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle will fail. This was attributed to Forsyth's attention to detail and inclusion of historical fact. The reader was less interested in the outcome, and more interested in how it was going to happen. Another commented upon phenomena was the reader's tendency to sympathize with the villain. In Stanley Ellin's review for The New York Times Book Review, he made the comparison to Milton's Paradise Lost, in which he rooted for the Devil. However, as much as the critics admired the book's suspensefulness, they agreed that Forsyth's language was not impressive. Ellin commented upon his "graceless prose style." The character s were criticized for lack of depth, and many thought that Forsyth's plot was too cliched. In a rare, totally negative review, J. R. Frakes, of The Chicago Tribune, called it, "over familiar rubbish." He also said that it was "impossible to find a fictional element that [was] not a decayed Hollywood derivative." He went on to say that the book was plagued with "thick clots of exposition," and "central casting characterization," meaning that each character was just a stereotype that could be found in any Hollywood thriller. And in another extremely negative review, Robert Greacen, of Books & Bookmen, writes, "If the reader is willing to anaesthetise his intelligence and coast along with Mr. Forsyth, he can look forward to a jolly good read." However, some reviewers found the book entertaining because of it's drawbacks. Ellin followed up his commentary on Forsyth's unemotional writing by saying that it helped to give the book a journalistic sense, making it seem more real. Michael Crichton, in The Saturday Review, said that Forsyth's use of clichés, coincidence and sketchy characters result in a "relentlessly readable book." This review, from The New Yorker, is a perfect example of most reviews, pointing out both good and bad about the novel. "The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth (Viking). Mr. Forsyth gives us a robust world that is seldom startled into feeling by a really human word or gesture, but his writing is so intense and flat, and his attitude so blindly self-serving that we are fascinated to see how the Jackal, a hired assassin, pursues his quarry with the horrid efficiency of a super-automation." Sources: Cooper, Arthur. "The Day of the Jackal." The Saturday Review 4 Sep. 1971: 34. Crichton, Michael. "The Anatomy of Suspense." The Saturday Review 9 Sep. 1972: 68+. Ellin, Stanley. "The Day of the Jackal." The New York Times Book Review 15 Aug. 1971: 3. Frakes, J. R. "A Vibrating Trap." Book World - The Chicago Tribune 5 Sep. 1971: 2. Greacen, Robert. "The Day of the Jackal." Books & Bookmen Aug. 1971: 35. The New Yorker 3 Aug. 1971: 27.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The Day of the Jackal received many mixed reviews. On the one hand, many critics admired Forsyth's ability to write a suspenseful novel. "The Day of the Jackal is going to leave a wake of bleary eyed readers - and I doubt that there will be a complainer among them." said Arthur Cooper of The Saturday Review. It was commented upon in almost every review that the book still remained a page turner, even though the reader knows from the beginning that the Jackal's assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle will fail. This was attributed to Forsyth's attention to detail and inclusion of historical fact. The reader was less interested in the outcome, and more interested in how it was going to happen. Another commented upon phenomena was the reader's tendency to sympathize with the villain. In Stanley Ellin's review for The New York Times Book Review, he made the comparison to Milton's Paradise Lost, in which he rooted for the Devil. However, as much as the critics admired the book's suspensefulness, they agreed that Forsyth's language was not impressive. Ellin commented upon his "graceless prose style." The character s were criticized for lack of depth, and many thought that Forsyth's plot was too cliched. In a rare, totally negative review, J. R. Frakes, of The Chicago Tribune, called it, "over familiar rubbish." He also said that it was "impossible to find a fictional element that [was] not a decayed Hollywood derivative." He went on to say that the book was plagued with "thick clots of exposition," and "central casting characterization," meaning that each character was just a stereotype that could be found in any Hollywood thriller. And in another extremely negative review, Robert Greacen, of Books & Bookmen, writes, "If the reader is willing to anaesthetise his intelligence and coast along with Mr. Forsyth, he can look forward to a jolly good read." However, some reviewers found the book entertaining because of it's drawbacks. Ellin followed up his commentary on Forsyth's unemotional writing by saying that it helped to give the book a journalistic sense, making it seem more real. Michael Crichton, in The Saturday Review, said that Forsyth's use of clichés, coincidence and sketchy characters result in a "relentlessly readable book." This review, from The New Yorker, is a perfect example of most reviews, pointing out both good and bad about the novel. "The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth (Viking). Mr. Forsyth gives us a robust world that is seldom startled into feeling by a really human word or gesture, but his writing is so intense and flat, and his attitude so blindly self-serving that we are fascinated to see how the Jackal, a hired assassin, pursues his quarry with the horrid efficiency of a super-automation." Sources: Cooper, Arthur. "The Day of the Jackal." The Saturday Review 4 Sep. 1971: 34. Crichton, Michael. "The Anatomy of Suspense." The Saturday Review 9 Sep. 1972: 68+. Ellin, Stanley. "The Day of the Jackal." The New York Times Book Review 15 Aug. 1971: 3. Frakes, J. R. "A Vibrating Trap." Book World - The Chicago Tribune 5 Sep. 1971: 2. Greacen, Robert. "The Day of the Jackal." Books & Bookmen Aug. 1971: 35. The New Yorker 3 Aug. 1971: 27.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Frederick Forsyth's first novel, _The Day of the Jackal_, was immensely popular from the moment it hit the American markets, having been noticed and given a favorable review in Publisher's Weekly a few weeks before its debut in the United States. Once it became available to the book buying public, _The Day of the Jackal_ quickly climbed American best seller lists. Its popularity was attributed to several factors, including its realism and attention to detail. Forsyth was able to create such an authentic picture owing to his previous experiences as a journalist. Before he became a novelist, Forsyth had worked as a foreign correspondent for both Reuters and the BBC, giving him first hand knowledge of his subject matter. Although _The Day of the Jackal_ was about a professional assassin, rather than espionage, Forsyth's first novel was often included in discussions of the genre known as the "spy novel," which was incredibly popular during the 1960-70's. Spy novels in general were popular especially because the Cold War stirred the public's interest in the world of under cover agents, and also because the figure of the professional gentleman spy was one to be admired. _The Day of the Jackal_ did not perfectly fit that category, but its plot did involve many of the same elements of the spy novel, such as conspiracy, two clearly opposed forces, and suspense. Before _The Day of the Jackal_ was published in America, it had already been released in both England and France. The rights to its publication had already been bought by houses in Italy, Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Israel and Holland, and were under negotiation in Japan. The whole world was interested in Forsyth's first novel. Forsyth had even already drafted a screenplay for a planned movie production (Bannon). Before it entered the American market, _The Day of the Jackal_ was widely talked about. Eventually, it was translated into almost 20 different languages (World Cat), showing the universality of Forsyth's story. Bantam Books' President Oscar Dystel added to the buzz about the book, when, after his company had procured the American paperback rights, he ordered 800 advance copies from Viking Press and sent letters to friends asking them each to name ten other personal friends to receive a copy. The Book of the Month Club named it their selection for mid-summer heightening the anticipation for the book (Bannon). This excitement led to _The Day of the Jackal_ breaking into Publisher's Weekly's best seller list on 23 Aug. 1971, one week after its official publication. It started off at number seven, but climbed steadily, reaching number one on 18 Oct, having sold more than 6,000 copies by that time. It stayed at the top for seven weeks after that. Most critics gave _The Day of the Jackal_ a variation on the same review. They applauded Forsyth's ability to make suspenseful an assassination attempt that, from the beginning, readers knew couldn't possibly occur, because it was widely known that Charles DeGaulle had died of natural causes, not a bullet wound, and to set the scene as realistically as possible by using copious detail and mingling fact with fiction. In fact, some American reviewers were unsure, at first, whether to review the novel as fiction or non-fiction (Bannon). But from there, they then went on to critique his bland writing style, lame dialogue and flat characterizations. Forsyth himself admitted that he had not authored any work of fine literature, he focused on the plot more than anything else (1986 Current Biography Yearbook). The pattern of praising Forsyth's credibility and strength as a creator of a realistic, thrilling plot while putting down his writing style was repeated in review after review. Still, most critics leaned towards the good side in their reviews. John Coyne expressed a typical sentiment when he wrote that the novel was "a taut if occasionally long-winded thriller in which the assassin's beat the clock planning meshed excitingly with the book's action." Some critics even appreciated Forsyth's straightforward style. It was said that "the prose style perfectly mirrors the meticulous precision and professional detachment of the hired killer (Jones 165)," and "it's fitting that the Jackal should remain an anonymous character. He is, after all, a person without a name who nobody ever gets really close to (181)." Forsyth's journalistic tone also adds credibility to the plot (Merry 47). Critics may not have agreed on Forsyth's writing style, but in the end, most concurred that his first attempt at fiction resulted in a "relentlessly readable book (Crichton 68)." Frederick Forsyth started his writing career as a journalist, first for Reuters and then later for the BBC. However, after his highly publicized views on the 1969 Biafran revolt in Nigeria got him blackballed by the news industry, he decided to try his hand at writing books. His first work, _The Biafra Story_, was a non-fiction account of what he had seen in Nigeria during his coverage of the revolt for the BBC. Then, in 1971, he turned to fiction and produced _The Day of the Jackal_(1986 Current Biography Yearbook). This was not a total departure from his beginnings as a newsman; his first novel relied very heavily on his experiences with the OAS, a French terrorist group, as a Reuters correspondent stationed in Paris. As with many of his later novels, the writing of _The Day of the Jackal_ had been preceded by exhaustive research (Contemporary Authors). This enabled him to load his novel with authentic detail, creating a realistic "melding [of] fact and fiction in an absorbing, ingenious narrative (1986 Current Biography Yearbook)" that Forsyth was so often praised for. Spy novels were incredibly popular during the late 1960's / early 1970's, especially due to the Cold War. They are a bit of escapist entertainment which lets the reader place his feet in the shoes of an agent of espionage (Merry 42). The spy novel is essentially a mystery story, with a definite solution, as opposed to the conflict between the Soviet and American powers, so spy novels imposed a sense of stability on a highly volatile issue (Atkins 15). Also, the spy is often a man like James Bond, who can come up with witty retorts to any enemy and is incredibly successful with women (53). These qualities are often admired or envied by the reader. The reader can identify with the suave spy character and get a self esteem boost from the novel. The late 1960's was a time in America when there was an increased appreciation of professionalism in every field. The post-industrial economy placed a value on the service industry, and the American audience respected and admired those workers. Perry Mason was esteemed on tv, because he did his job in the courtroom well. The Godfather glamourously displayed a group of intensely loyal "co-workers" who performed their duties efficiently (Jones 160). Forsyth, like most spy novelists, creates no-nonsense professionals (161), in a romantic portrayal of the lives of men under cover (Merry 65). Forsyth's characters also displayed a "professionalism [which] cuts absolutely across class barriers." Lebel and the Jackal didn't come from wealthy families or attend fancy prep schools to get where they were. They worked hard for their positions, which is a very American ideal (60). Clearly, Lebel, the chief of the French police force is the "good guy," and the reader admires him and wants to see him solve the case. But, one is also inclined to root for the Jackal as well (Crichton 68). Throughout the novel, "functional efficiency and technological supremacy are both primary values and ends in themselves (Jones 178)." This is why the reader can cheer for both Lebel and the Jackal, although they are opposed to each other. The Jackal does his job with a minimum of fuss, emotionlessly and efficiently killing those who obstruct his goal (Merry 70). He is a skilled man, demonstrating "thoroughness, attention to detail, a capacity for absorbing information, quick decision making and technical expertise (Jones 169)." Although Forsyth does not write specifically about espionage, it was said that Forsyth's _The Day of the Jackal_ was very similar to many other spy novels of its time. He was discussed on the same page as such authors as Ian Fleming, John LeCarré, Len Deighton and Arthur Hailey. Bruce Merry's _Anatomy of the Spy Thriller_ uses _The Day of the Jackal_ to analyze the aspects of the spy novel which make it so popular. In fact, Merry claims that Forsyth "may have constructed the model example of the spy novel ( 59)." He uses all of the formulaic elements of the genre, but gives it a new twist (65), which is one of "the rules" followed by novels excelling in their own genre (70). For a spy novel to be successful, according to Merry, it above all has to posses the quality of "unputdownability (43)." The reader has to feel like it is necessary to read the book in one sitting. "The book fails if it can be read gradually and without interruptions (49)." Also, for a spy novel to work, the author has to make it easy for the reader to suspend all disbelief (47). Like most spy novels, _The Day of the Jackal_ is intriguing because it deals with "paraphernalia of death," and "planned murder, which the average sedentary middle-class reader does not do himself (57)." Forsyth achieves these goals through his use of detail and historical fact, which adds to the realism and suspense, and his pacing of the story. The point of a spy novel is that the reader wants to answer the question: "Something is going on ? but what (Atkins 15)?" Forsyth attention to details interests the reader in answering this question and lets him step directly into the action to do it. The reader feels as if he was right next to the Jackal, examining the new rifle or forged passports. Moreover, it feels like the author is sharing "insider knowledge," and the reader is a recipient of privileged information (Jones 166). In addition to his detailed descriptions, the inclusion of current events helps to create a novel which causes the reader to wonder, "[Am I] reading a documentary account or a work of fiction (164)?" These factors work to get the reader involved with the story, and hopefully make him reluctant to put the book down. The pacing, too, heightens the reader's curiosity. As the reader gets further and further into the book, events happen more and more quickly, resulting in an accelerated "speed of consumption" because the need to figure out what is going on increases greatly.(Merry 49). Forsyth adds to the excitement through the use of "global simultaneity," or the jump between action happening in two distinct locations at the same moment (53). This makes it seem as if the action is worldwide. However, _The Day of the Jackal_ also broke from the "spy novel" mold in a couple of different ways. The most obvious departure is that none of the characters are actually spies; Forsyth writes about a terrorist group, a hit man, and a detective. Forsyth also removed the elements of too witty humor and implausible last-minute escapes that were often found elsewhere, as in Fleming's Bond novels, creating a more serious situation (70). Furthermore, his characters to the reader on a more classless level because, "unlike Fleming, he can tell us the Jackal smokes without mentioning a brand only obtainable in Bond Street (Atkins 17)." Two movies were made based on the book, one in 1973 and another in 1997. Both movies generated interest in the book, as many of the reviews mentioned it. The first production was in the works before the novel was even published in the United States. Frederick Forsyth himself wrote a first draft of the screenplay (Bannon), so the movie of 1973, also titled _The Day of the Jackal_, followed the book's plot pretty closely (O'Brien). Movie reviews for this version were pretty much positive. However, the other adaptation, 1997's _The Jackal_, with Bruce Wilis, did not receive such stellar reviews. Critics universally panned the movie, noting that the plot of the movie had almost nothing to do with the book (Tatara). The resemblance between the book and this movie is so slight that the credits don't even mention the book, it attributes its roots to the first screenplay (The Self- Made Critic). "Magnificently dispensing with such trite irritants as logic, narrative cohesion, pacing and suspense," all qualities Forsyth book was praised for, this new adaptation did justice to neither novel nor the 1973 screenplay (Major). The spy novel during the 1960-70's was an extremely popular genre due to several social factors, among them, the Cold War. Frederick Forsyth, with his _The Day of the Jackal_, provided the world with a novel cleverly incorporating all of those elements which made the spy novel so popular. Forsyth crafted an exciting, realistic suspenseful story which was universally enjoyed. Due to its acclaim in Europe before its American release, there was a tremendous build up in the United States. Once it hit the American markets, it performed very well, immediately becoming a best seller. Forsyth's first attempt at fiction was undeniably a success. Sources: 1986 Current Biography Yearbook. Atkins, John. The British Spy Novel London: John Calder, 1984. Bannon, Barbara. "The Story Behind the Book." Vol 200, No. 6. Publisher's Weekly 9 Aug 1971. Best Sellers Lists. Publisher's Weekly 16 Aug. 1971 - 20 Dec. 1971. Contemporary Authors - Virgo. Coyne, John R. The National Review 2 Aug 1974. Crichton, Michael. "The Anatomy of Suspense." The Saturday Review 9 Sep 1972: 68+. Ellin, Stanley. "The Day of the Jackal." The New York Times Book Review 15 Aug 1971: 3. Jones, Dudley. "Professionalism and Pop-fiction: The Novels of Arthur Hailey and Frederick Forsyth." Spy Thrillers, From Buchan to LeCarré Macmillan, 1990: 165+. Major, Wade. "The Jackal." Boxoffice Magazine Review. Online. Internet. 10 Dec 1999. Merry, Bruce. Anatomy of a Spy Thriller London: Gill and Macmillan, 1977. O'Brien, Harvey. "The Day of the Jackal." (1998). Online. Internet. 10 Dec 1999. The Self-Made Critic. "You Don't Know Jackal." The Brunching Shuttlecocks. Online. Internet. 10 Dec 1999. Tatara, Paul. "'Jackal' a lame imitation of '73 thriller." CNN Interactive (19 Nov 1997). Online. Internet. 10 Dec 1999. World Cat.
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