cover image Monada


Gabriel Mourey, trans. from the French by Shawn Garrett. Snuggly, $14 trade paper (132p) ISBN 978-1-64525-060-9

The first English translation of this gorgeous collection from French novelist Mourey (1865–1943) contains 16 gems of the Decadent Movement, originally published in 1894. The elegant title story calls to mind the works of Edgar Allan Poe (to whom Mourey aptly alludes) in the tale of a painter at work on a portrait of an enigmatic woman who overtakes his passions and senses. Mourey’s painterly prose delves into the narrator’s gloomy mindset and ties the story to the Symbolist movement. The remainder of the collection is composed of very short fictions, most of which similarly feature male narrators wistfully describing female characters with admiration, grace, and incredible detail. The narrator of “The Seduction of Reflections” remembers two female friends of his youth, one of whom is now dead. In “The Watch,” the narrator reflects on his obsessive childhood hatred of the spring season. And in “The Bottle from Paphos,” a man visits an archaeological museum in Marseille accompanied by a young princess. Haunting, romantic, and thought-provoking, this is a gift for fans of 19th-century literature. (Mar.)