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Tag Archives: exposition internationale
My reviews of the Last Thinker books:
The description of this book I’ve just purchased from the publisher does not yet seem to be shown here: http://www.exoccidente.com/ but, in any event, I do not wish to read any extraneous information about it till I have finished my real-time review of it.
A Last Thinkers Edition. 64 pages – with hedonistic cover, a sturdy strokeable luxury book backed by bock-skin (my description of the surface-to-touch effect of which I’ve attempted to give some inkling below in one of my photographs). Stiff paper pages. Stitched to your reading-skin.
EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE – Bucharest – MMXIII
MY NEW-STYLE REAL-TIME REVIEW WILL CONTINUE BELOW IN THE COMMENTS TO THIS POST.
by Colin Insole
Publisher’s description here: http://www.exoccidente.com/stars.html
On final page of this book: “‘The Last Gold of Decayed Stars’ has been limited to 158 numbered copies for sale, plus extra copies, which are reserved for private distribution. This is copy number” 24 (in red ink)
64 pages – with hedonistic cover, partly spine-overlapped decadent shivery hardish velvet to the touch in black (and I have been told by a third party that this is some weird animal hide). Luxury stiff paper pages. Stitched to your reading-skin.
EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE – Bucharest – MMXIII
A Secret in Illyria
“Anna hid her irritation at the woman’s glib and facile remark, but on her way home, her anger and self-reproach grew.”
Anita Brookner has been one of my favourite writers for many years, but sadly I have not seen a new novel from her recently. This book — that I already (perhaps too early) infer to be a quilted novella of episodes imbued by vicarious Proustian memory — seems to have Brookner’s ‘soul’. Now, having read this the first ‘story’ and riffled through the rest without yet reading them, this is Anna’s answer to what she sees as the tawdry seaside world (where I live): her threaded threnody with the musical sensibilities of, say, the Delius ‘Song of Summer’ deliciously prose-mingled with the Peter Warlock ‘Curlew’ – an idyllic revery in confrontation with modernity, reliving the past of foreigh climes with their even more foreign ‘mores’ where her grandmother once ‘inhabited’. Of course I may be completely wrong. We shall see… An exquisite start, though
THE ABOVE NEW-STYLE REAL-TIME REVIEW WILL CONTINUE BELOW IN THE COMMENTS TO THIS POST.
This has been main headline news in UK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21401111 regarding a Romanian abattoir. Nothing established for certain as I write this.
First, I was wondering about the cat’s meat trade — as depicted in my novella WEIRDTONGUE (The InkerMen Press 2010) — and whether Blasphemy Fitzworth’s trade between the UK and Middle Europe was a staggering premonition of similar news in 2013. Or was ‘Weirdtongue’ indeed affected retrocausally?
Also, I am still real-time reviewing, DEHISCENCE, a quilted patchwork novella published a few weeks ago in Romania, the plot of which seeming at least obliquely relevant to this news issue. Like a few of the publisher’s previous ‘Last Thinkers’ books, this one seems bound in some unknown animal skin, an arguable phenomenon that I think you can see from this photo I’ve just taken:
No sign of this skin dehiscing. It is a very well made book.
Publisher’s description here: http://www.exoccidente.com/sand.html
On final page of this book: “‘Numbered as Sand or the Stars’ has been limited to 235 numbered copies for sale, plus extra copies, which are reserved for private distribution. This is copy number” 20 (in red ink)
64 pages – with hedonistic cover, partly spine-overlapped decadent shivery hardish velvet to the touch in black (and I have been told by a third party that this is some weird animal hide – such as that of the pengö’s?), and partly stitched yellow-smoky laid-back young-bright-thing depressed gorgeousness to the renewed touch with hardened heart, but a heart not as hard as the jacketless cover itself. Office-cluttered inside cover image at either end of the book. Luxury stiff paper pages.
EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE – Bucharest – MMXII
This is my sixth post-real-time review after recently announcing my retirement from real-time reviewing following four ostensibly self- and autre-fulfilling years doing it.
“The women’s faces covering the wall stare out at him. He returns their gaze. They are terraced like spectators’ heads in a stadium, or at a thousand tiny windows.”
[Cf Sand's Dusk. And James Joyce's Sermon on Hell.]
NUMBERED AS SAND OR THE STARS is a novelette by another of my favourite writers – John Howard – cf my review of his story ‘The White City’ here = and here the currency talks like more stamps or faces on the wall, evoking a historical Hungary facing conspiring regents or hyperinflation or other loose ‘borders’ of integrity – even that era’s equivalent (my inference, not necessarily the book’s) mentality of Stalinist ‘ebooks’ when compared to the hard currency of the stiff paper pages which this book boasts. Hard coin or paper money? False borders or fixed geomancy? All in a stylish prose to die for – and to be buried with.
Loved it. The ambivalence of right and wrong amid a Philosophy of History as another version of the ‘synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’. Challenge and response in endless cycle. Imagination or belief as you hold a banknote or a page of fiction. Or, God forbid, an ebook!
Publisher’s description here: http://www.exoccidente.com/dusk.html
On final page of this book: “‘At Dusk’ has been limited to 235 numbered copies for sale, plus extra copies, which are reserved for private distribution. This is copy number” 20 (in red ink)
80 pages – including 17 stunning coloured ‘hard’ images with wonderful intricate building-scapes, cornerstones etc. scattered throughout.
Hedonistic cover partly spine-overlapped decadent shivery hardish velvet to the touch in black, partly stitched yellow gorgeousness to the renewed touch with hardened heart, but a heart not as hard as the jacketless cover itself. Office-orientated inside cover image at either end of the book. Luxury stiff paper pages.
EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE – Bucharest – MMXII
This is my fifth post-real-time review after recently announcing my retirement from real-time reviewing following four ostensibly self- and autre-fulfilling years doing it.
AT DUSK by Mark Valentine is a series of short prose pieces that ostensibly channel into us visionary glances of the between-world-war poets generated by an erstwhile Europe vision, that remarkably combines all the bespoke beauty of language we expect from this author but here with new souls as writers, new readers as souls, too. For example, at one point, I had a premonition of reading this book on my own death bed (whenever that should turn out to be), as the last book I read or re-read.
“Always Autumn, leaves the surrendered coins of Summer, payment for a passage to the dark.”
There is a sense of a telling gestalt with the world today, the news today, this precise day I write this, as with mention here of ‘Israfel’ … and with another recent book emanating from this publisher: “The saints in their tombs are starting to smile.” All is meant to be.
The Peacock Escritoire has become here a series of “viola cases” with “viola chords“.
I am already entranced. But I shall re-read it one day, resisting the strong temptation or ‘Desnos’ to do so till then. (It definitely needs reading several times).
“We walk in this world as if it were the only one. Yet there is a side-step when we seem to stray into another. A few moments pass, we waver on the brink of a revelation. We could dissolve into another existence.” …towards, eventually into, this exquisite book.
‘Always Autumn’ … FOREVER AUTUMN
PS: the 17 amazing photographs by Geticus Polus
– one of which has a nice pussy-cat.
I’m due shortly to start below on this page another of my gradual real-time reviews, turning leitmotifs into a gestalt.
And it is of SECRET EUROPE by John Howard and Mark Valentine (EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE: Bucharest: MMXII). A book I purchased from the publisher.
There is no guarantee how long it will take to complete this review, whether days or years.
CAVEAT: Spoilers are not intended but there may be inadvertent ones. You may wish (i) to take that risk and read my review before or during your own reading of the book, or (ii) to wait until you have finished reading it. In either case, I hope it gives a useful or interesting perspective.
All my real-time reviews are linked from here: http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/
All my Ex Occidente Press (Passport Levant) real-time reviews here: http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/ex-occidente-press-real-time-reviews/
In due course, I may attempt to describe the wondrous physical form of this book. Also, having not yet started reading the texts themselves, I actually fear starting them at all in such a prepossessing format. But I am confident, knowing these writers’ previous work as I do, that such texts shall transcend or quantitatively ease the current financial contagion, a contagion leading to political as well as creative anxieties in today’s currency zones of Secret Europe. And today is 29 Feb 2012 – a secret day if there ever was one: the astrologically harmonious date on which I have started this review’s real-time: hence without needing to leap between such diverging historic realities at the on-going risk of my life -
“…the multitude of dead, forgotten books, a real cemetery in store for us;…” An extract from the Sainte Beuve quotation at the start of this book. (29 Feb 12 – 1.00 pm gmt)
Baltersan’s Third Edition – Mark Valentine
“…twenty-five of the most used tongues.”
Far be it from me to call this characteristic Valentine — this non-fictionalised tale of a phrase book — Scilly. Even it is (or was), its history of the book’s various editions is also charming in style and tone; and makes European words — from languages common or rare, one-off or familial — a Baedeker of aural geomancy as well as of the more normal oral disciplines. (29 Feb 12 – an hour later)
Secret Byzantium – Mark Valentine
“He disciplined his thoughts to dispel the doubt.”
I note that ‘Secret Europe’ has two unadvertised reprints in its contents list; “Secret Byzantium” is not one of them. A resplendent volume with so many secret Valentines and Howards is, in my book, allowed to smuggle in a couple of pre-divulged secrets as foils to the real things! Two used tongues out of twenty-five unused ones is good going, I say. This, the book’s second tongue, speaks of a ‘gazette’ at its beginning, and I nearly used the word ‘gazetteer’ instead of ‘Baedeker’ in my previous entry, but for some reason altered it at the last minute. A bit like the aborted ‘suicide pact’ (my inference, not necessarily the head-lease author’s) in ‘Secret Byzantium’: with the concept of a diaspora’s secret academic durability after fleeing the Ottoman splendours and spreading towards, in hindsight, today’s retrocausally depleted coffers of Italy, a concept that offers much food for thought and worth not killing oneself in order to pursue. That does no justice, however, to this story’s beautifully gentle prose or its missing dream voyages to Arcturus that today’s equally missing day has made me read between its lines with some puckish gratuitousness on my part, if I were honest with myself. (29 Feb 12 – two hours later)
The Silver Eagles – John Howard
“As you probably know, our silver coins are actually only half silver, and have been so since 1900. Altering the content like that amounted to debasing the coinage, but it was done openly and legally. Other countries have done it.”
When I wrote my introduction at the start of this real-time review a few hours ago (above), I had no idea that at least one of the stories would be about currency’s quantitative easing! Nor that my puckish references to today’s ‘missing’ leap-year day and to two story reprints might also be factored in as relevant! Meanwhile, this is an involving story that concerns a necklace-chain so thin it seems to vanish when upon the neck: like a cutting-wound to be inflicted in the future — upon the neck of another soldier-figure to resonate with a previous one, above, in Valentine’s story as well as the vanishings or mass sacrifices or multi-effective suicide-pacts that wars at the beginning of the 20th century often convoked — a story here mingled with Bolshevik/Balkan history about which I (a History philosopher rather than a History quiz-team specialist) know very little… and I wonder if the counterfeit is often more valuable than the genuine … which is a sad wonderment in the light of life’s constant weighing of ends and means. “I received a crownless 25 pennii coin in my change when I stopped for a glass of schnapps in my local bar.” Note that 25 again. The number handwritten at the end of this book as my edition of this book out of 222 published: 26. (29 Feb 12 – another 3 hours later)
The above ‘Balkan’ was an accidental typo (i.e. not due to my lack of knowledge) for ‘Baltic’. Sorry. Meanwhile, thinking further from some of the above considerations: leverage or sound money / counterfeit or genuine / philosophy or history / art or reality – which is the quantitative easing and which is subject to quantitative easing, which is the contagion and which is subject to contagion? The secret clues began within The Synchronised Shards of Random Truth & Fiction, i.e. the second printed subtitle of ‘Weirdmonger: The Nemonicon’ (Prime Books 2003). More later on this topic, if ‘Secret Europe’ allows. (1 Mar 12 – 7.35 am gmt – St David’s Day)
Silence and Fire – Mark Valentine
“I knew this was, had been, a real city: but the picture had still seemed a tableau, a piece of art, a fiction.”
Well, conscious of my own fallibility, I’ve looked ‘Karelia’ up on Wikipedia (for what it’s worth) to give more context to the early 20th Century history embodied in MV’s singing prose. (I already knew the piece of music by Sibelius!) However, MV already has a knack of conveying the soul of history and events with a deft touch (“The four beaded pillars in front of the Hotel Kamp were each like a stone abacus, frozen in time, which had long ago stopped counting the years.”) even to someone (like me) who merely listens to classical music all day and who rarely touches a history book other than a book about history. Meanwhile, here continue the quasi-economic supply and demand I’ve noticed so far imbuing this book’s high leverage of creativity: “There were days when it was hard to find a decent coffeee: days when the spirits ran dry; when only mashed herring (but mashed with what, exactly?) was on the menu. Then there would be mysterious surges of plenty, when boxes of Turkish cigarettes changed hands, when something labelled Colombian wine could be had in quantity, when a sour heather honey was offered instead of sugar.” Please forgive me hedging my review’s emergent promissory note of valid currency in hopefully fair usage with such a lengthy quotation, but I have as yet an unsubstantiated and barely self-articulated hunch about this book. (1 Mar 12 – six hours later)
The Other Salt – Mark Valentine
“…the ‘other salt’, rarer than all the spices of the East, than cardamom from Bhutan, Zanzibar cloves, Coromandel ginger, or the blue pepper that only the Parsee traded.”
An entrancing quest in the marsh – among its people – seeking for something that, during history, has often been worth more than money: such as rare spices on the spice trade routes to Samarkand: here the ‘other salt’ from a deeper mine than yours. The silting of a language, beyond speech or printed text, in tune with this book’s previous aural geomancy? But only a truly inexhaustible, exhaustive self like yours or mine can feel within itself whence the ‘other salt’ often sadly stems: while, meantime, imagining further “pale hands deftly plying the ladle” to obviate being “lulled by the obvious” in life as well as in a literature that is in itself more valuable than even the priceless commodities it seeks to broker. With this book, I can purchase more even than I spent on it. With or without numbering. (1 Mar 12 – two hours later)
[I don't expect anyone to believe this, but I assure you it is true. This evening I heard my wife humming the opening tune from Sibelius' Karelia Suite. I subsequently told her that a few hours ago I was writing about it in connection with this book. She had not thought of the music for some years, nor read my blog, nor had I mentioned it to her, nor could she think of a single reason why she was humming it and I have equally not thought of this music before today for some time. Perhaps, I've since thought, this is connected in some strange or frightening way with my simultaneous real-time review of a story entitled 'The Secret Season' tonight!] (1 Mar 12 – another hour later)
Today is the day that 25 of the 27 Nations in the European Union sign a fiscal pact. The pact enshrines in each signing country’s constitution a “debt brake” or “golden rule”. (2 Mar 12 – 7.40 am gmt)
THIS REAL-TIME REVIEW IS NOW CONTINUED HERE.