First published in June 1971, Frederick Forsyth’s great grandaddy of the modern political thriller, The Day of the Jackal, is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. There has been a flurry of activity (not entirely unrelated to publicity for Forsyth’s latest novel, The Cobra) but I thought it might be worth pointing to a few choice bits of media coverage relating to this work.
When I think of the original book, long, tortuous, a bit dry, fundamentally conservative, utterly fascinating, I often tend to picture it as it was in the excellent 1973 film adaptation (not the later Hollywood remake starring Jack Black however) rather than through Forsyth’s prose – so I thought it might be worth re-acquainting myself with the original work and its author. In the process I realised that this seems to be happening all over print and radio media at present to celebrate the anniversary. Here are some choice nuggets currently available on the web …
Next Tuesday (14 June) BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a celebration of the seminal thriller and Patrick Humphries will talk about the book and its influence with such writers as Lee Child, Andrew Rosenheim, Sam Bourne and Forsyth himself. For more information, see the BBC website at: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011v1bl.
Forsyth is interviewed by Mariella Frustruop for the BBC’s Open Book programme – available to listen to on BBC iPlayer here. It includes a link to a free download of the first chapter of Jackal. Another interview with Forsyth can be heard online or as a download from BBC Radio Ulster’s Book Programme.
There is an excellent blog entry on the book by Cara Black over at Murder is Everywhere.
Though it’s probably not Forsyth at his best (I would probably vote for The Fourth Protocol myself), it is the book for which the author is most likely to be remembered. His influence certainly can’t be underestimated.
Forsyth’s official book website can be found here.