July 20, 2011

good book alert

my litcrush on Maurice Blanchot is approaching the point of diminishing returns (in other words: I’m running out of things by him to read), so I’ve tried to prolong it a bit by making a sideways move into other postwar French fiction of a similarly experimental bent — specifically, Pierre Klossowski’s 1965 novella Le Baphomet. it is wonderful so far; it is also difficult to recommend to people ‘irl’ because when I say the title they go “huh?” and then we go back and forth for a minute until I end up having to spell it out or write it down; so I will use the medium of the printed word to recommend it to you (whoever you are) now.

the book opens with a brief historical prologue, involving some minor political intrigues on the eve of Philip IV’s crackdown on the Knights of the Temple; subsequently, it shifts registers entirely, to a strange metaphysical vision of the afterlife, where the souls (‘breaths’) of the deceased Templars circulate on winds among the ruins of their old fortress. St. Teresa also puts in a guest appearance; I am told that there will be a good deal of bizarre kinky sex in the pages to come, though I can’t quite see how that is possible at this point.

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