Tag Archives: ex occidente press

The Stream & The Torrent


The Curious Case of Jan Torrentius and the Followers of the Rosy Cross: Vol.1
By Brian Howell

Photo by Zagava

Photo by Zagava

Les Éditions de L’Oubli MMXIV

Previous ‘Les Éditions de L’Oubli’ in the modern age are shown here.

Previous reviews of all my purchased Zagava – Ex Occidente books are linked from here.

I shall report on my experience of this book in the comment stream below as and when I happen to read it.

It is a highly luxurious book, with 160 pages. “Limited to 86 numbered copies for sale, plus extra copies, which are reserved for private distribution.” Mine is numbered 25.


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Today’s “found art” – and L’Oubli


I have long expounded on ‘the synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’ (please google the expression) ever since it was used as the sub-title of the Prime Books ‘WEIRDMONGER: The Nemonicon’ in 2003.
In the last few days I have been real-time reviewing ‘LETTERS FROM OBLIVION’ by Andrew Condous: a history of Bucharest’s historic Les Editions de L’Oubli published in 2014 by Bucharest’s modern Les Editions de L’Oubli. Here in this real-time review I stumbled on a replacement for the now obsolete ‘shards’ expression above and this is ‘both sides of the truth’ which, admittedly, is not an original set of words on my part. But posing it as a dilemma between those two sides of the truth with regard to the art of fiction I think there may be some new food-for-thought – for those who think about such things at all!

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The Magic of LEDLO

The modern day canon of the LES ÉDITIONS DE L’OUBLI to date:


Aornos by Avalon Brantley
A Dead Church by Harold Billings
HISTORY OF ‘LES EDITIONS DE L’OUBLI’: Letters from Oblivion by Andrew Condous
Plus these three books that are also modern day LEDLOs from Bucharest:

The Aesthete Hagiographer by Derek John
O Altítudo by Thomas STRØMSHOLT

All the above links are to my real-time reviews.

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Warm Monument

My new book has landed here:


It is gorgeous. More photos of it in the comments here: http://admtoah.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/orders/

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The Town Crier


I think Colin Insole should write a new fiction entitled ‘The Town Crier’ in its literal sense.

In the meantime, I declare my candidacy to become his Bellman.

My review of his debut collection entitled ELEGIES & REQUIEMS (Side Real Press 2013): HERE

Details of his publications: HERE

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Garry Nurrish’s logo throughout the ‘Weirdmonger’ book (2003)

DF LEWIS: editor, publisher, writer and reviewer of fiction. First novel published at the age of 63 (2011). Creator of ‘Nemonymous’ (from 2001). Author of many published fiction works from the ‘Weirdmonger’ story (1988) to ‘A Dead Monument to Once Ancient Hope’ (2013). Inventor of gestalt real-time reviewing (from 2008). Publisher of other authors.

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DADA GNOSIS by d.t. ghetu (Ex Occidente Press 2013) – my first real-time review without words:



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Virtue in Danger

Just received this incredible physical artefact of an Ex Occidente Press book  – over 280 pages.  Has to be seen in real life to be believed. ‘Virtue in Danger’  or ‘The Princess and the Actor’ – A Metaphysical Romance by Reggie Oliver

vig vig1 vig2


And Dan Ghetu’s Dada Gnosis:



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Orphans on Granite Tides


I could not resist breaking my June sabbatical from reviewing books with a brief nod to this one HERE.

It is a highly aesthetic book, very well produced, and the brilliant text is beginning to haunt me more and more.

Like ‘The Quarry’ another real book that rocks.

Orphans on Granite Tides?

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Real books on this morning’s sunlit shelf…


Sculpture by Tony Lovell

Sculpture by Tony Lovell

bigbookbooksrock3 booksrock2 booksrock1


Links to more of my rocks and books in the comment below.

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The Seer Is Never Thanked

I have just received the lovely box and covers for THE LAST THINKERS set plus THE MADMAN OF TOSTERGLOPE by Louis Marvick:

My reviews of the Last Thinker books:

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THE NEW FATE by Jonathan Wood

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.





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The Last Gold of Decayed Stars

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.




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



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Weirdtongue and the latest meat news

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.

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Publisher’s description here: http://www.exoccidente.com/dehiscence.html

On final page of this book: “‘Dehiscence’ 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.




Pages 9-15: “History too was a passion, and everywhere oozed with it.”

An Anita-Brooknerian-type soul, of conspiratorial mien, displanted, in the 1970s, to Planty Park and its environs for shopwork in the shadow of Europe’s ultimate pain. An achingly delicious, immaculate English prose undeniably to die for, and one can imagine its words throbbing into Polish rather than being translated…

Bereft destiny was ever such for him whether he had been displanted or not? (8/2/13)



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Real-Time Regained

“Click on this image for my Real-Time Reviews: supporting the known and unknown authors of good imaginative literature in a ground-breaking leitmotif / gestalt fashion from Nov 2008 to Oct 2012.”

That’s something I wrote on my site last October, having decided to retire, around the age of 65, from what was becoming an onerous, if enjoyable and hopefully altruistic, task.

Having conducted, in recent days, this experiment in real-time reviewing of Nicholas Royle’s FIRST NOVEL and QUILT, I am having a ‘second wind’. I must have passed through this  marathon ‘wall’!

For this purpose, I have pre-ordered WHITSTABLE (Spectral Press) by Stephen Volk, TALLEST TALES (Eibonvale Press) by Rhys Hughes, JANE (Chômu Press) by PF Jeffery, DEHISCENCE (Ex Occidente Press) by DP Watt and THE LAST GOLD OF DECAYED STARS (Ex Occidente Press) by Colin Insole – and I intend to resume my regular RTRs of future editions of BLACK STATIC (TTA Press) and THEAKER’S QUARTERLY FICTION and anything else that catches my eye, but please remember I continue not to accept free review copies of books.

Eventually these new RTRS will be listed and linked here.

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Chômu Megazanthus ExOccidente InkerMen

Two of my bookshelves with my collections of Chômu, Megazanthus and Ex Occidente books (plus four from InkerMen) – plus some closer looks in comments below:


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AT DUSK – Mark Valentine

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.


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.


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Description quoted from an on-line source:
by William Charlton
Publication Date: October 2012
Sewn hardcover, limited to 100 hand numbered copies, 120 pp with illustrated end papers and a full-color frontispiece.”

“This edition is limited to one hundred numbered copies of which this is number:” 45

There appear to be 112 pages in the version I hold in my hand. There is also a deluxely stiff dust-jacket with an aubrey-beardsley style design on the front. The front of the hard-back cover beneath the dust-jacket shows the words: “E FINIBUS”. Nothing on the inner spine.

Les Éditions de l’Oubli, Bucharest, 1945

which, based on extramural evidence, I guess is another name for Ex Occidente Press or Passport Levant…

This highly aesthetic book measures 4 by 5.5 inches when closed.

This is my very first post-real-time review after recently announcing here my retirement from real-time reviewing after four ostensibly self- and autre-fulfilling years doing it.

Five stories – Benighted, The Elusive Real, The Music Festival, The Antistrophe, The Main Road – by an author whose work I don’t think I have previously encountered.

Delightfully traditional and sporadically supernatural fictions, with quirky almost gratuitous endings, but endings that stay with the reader defiantly, all stemming from an engaging and well-crafted prose style. The characters seemed as if I were meeting real people who happen to find themselves inside the quirky world of this book, amazed at finding themselves thus liberated from carnal existence but equally hidebound by the book’s accoutrements of de luxe paper and print. Inspired by one of the stories, I will say that reading this book was like stepping off the main road for ostensibly gratuitous reasons into whatever land bordered it but finding much with which to durably haunt myself as a result.

I’d say this is a belit as well as a benighted literary book in a new genre called  the Defiantly Quirky with touches of the feistily effete or feminine or the Realms of Traditional Supernatural Literature with Jokes as well as Serious Visions, or Tricks and Trips (in both senses of the word ‘trip’). Physically tangible with baths and things, at times, but not always felicitously physical! And a girl called Woody.

“And now for my kiss.”


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Secret Europe

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: https://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)




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