THE SAN VENEFICIO CANON

Michael Cisco, Author . Prime $29.95 (248p) ISBN 978-1-894815-67-3

San Veneficio, a place where illusion and reality, life and death, creation and decay all merge indistinguishably, provided the perfect backdrop for Cisco's debut Gothic fantasy, The Divinity Student (1999). The surreal city is back in all its charnel splendor in this double-decker compilation, which resurrects not only that novel but the deceased student himself, in a ghoulish sequel, The Golem . Exhumed by body snatchers in the opening chapters, the Divinity Student—an enigmatic searcher for meaning in his symbol-strewn world—patches together a form from corpse parts to serve as a vessel for his still smoldering spirit. The episodic plot tracks this "vibrantly rotten" monster's pursuit of Christine Dalman, a former fiancée with an endless repertoire of magical subterfuges for eluding capture. Cisco's dreamlike narrative resists interpretations outside its own framework of strangeness. Rather, it moves fluidly from one hallucinatory set piece to the next, borne along by his evocative prose and a tide of weird imagery that suits the morbid setting. (Apr. 15)

FYI: The Divinity Student won the Best First Novel Award from the International Horror Guild in 2002.

Reviewed on: 03/22/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 244 pages - 978-1-892389-89-3
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-1-894815-68-0
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