Édouard Dujardin, trans. from the French by Brian Stableford. Snuggly, $12.50 trade paper (132 p) ISBN 978-1-64525-019-7
The eerie and introspective first English translation of French symbolist Dujardin’s collection of 13 dark stories originally published in 1886, offers dark psychological portraits of characters on the brink. Dujardin, an early pioneer of stream-of-consciousness writing, dives deep into his haunted characters’ inner thoughts, threading strange obsessions and compulsions through each of these tales. A scholar of demonology is unable to sleep after he gives a name to a child’s nightmare in “The Devil Helkesipode.” Sister stories “The Future Dementia” and “The Past Dementia” track the narrator’s journey into and out of madness. Two lovers cannot stop themselves from tempting an unspeakable fate in “The Iron Maiden” and a young clergyman is so overtaken by his need to save the souls of humanity that he falls into a deadly illness in “The Apostolate.” Many of these tales take the form of monologue, meditation, or vignette rather than straight narrative, which may turn off more traditional horror readers, and the repetitious agonies of Dujardin’s tormented protagonists can become overwhelming. Fans of the recursive manias and mystical trappings of 19th-century gothics will find much to hold their interest, but casual readers will struggle. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/21/2019
Release date: 01/01/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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