Morose Vignettes

Remy de Gourmont, trans. from the French by Brian Stableford. Snuggly, $12.50 trade paper (132p) ISBN 978-1-64525-047-0
This collection of 28 tales from De Gourmont (1858–1915), appearing in English for the first time, offer brief but poignant glimpses into surreal situations. The characters depicted in these prose poem–style stories are vague and ethereal, obscured by landscape and philosophy. Standout pieces include “The Dream,” a snapshot of a man’s disappointment upon the birth of his daughter; “The Phonograph,” which sees a poet mourning the end of an age; “Vision,” a brief but gorgeously written interaction between a man and an untouchable woman; “Prose for a Poet,” about romantic abandonment; and “Hell,” in which an imprisoned heretic conjures images of hell (“here, a terrible grinder made mincemeat of human hands; there a rasp of superhuman mechanism scraped the sterile flesh of foolish virgins from their groaning bones; and hearts fell under the eternal millstone as multitudinously as grains of wheat”). These compact and beautiful vignettes are best suited to readers with a soft spot for bygone literary eras. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/16/2020
Release date: 12/22/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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