John Clute reviews Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud!

August 19th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

No less than the great John Clute reviews Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud at Strange Horizons. I reproduce the capsule here in its entirety.

SHORT NOTE: Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud is 63 and has never published a book in English until now. A Life on Paper: Selected Stories, brilliantly translated by Edward Gauvin, opens the door at last. Nothing in the volume much resembles SF, many of the tales included here ostensibly lack any fantastic element: but this matters not at all. Châteaureynaud’s characteristic tone of voice is deadpan, unsurprised, almost anecdotal. Unsettlingly, nothing remarkable is remarked upon, as though words that illuminate deep shadow do no more than light our way to the end of the perfect tale. In his blurb, John Crowley evokes Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Nathanael West, Aimee Bender. I’d add Robert Coover when he’s not spanking or out West; and maybe a few others, like the hugely undervalued Macdonald Harris when he lets his stays out. And Thomas Ligotti, especially when he’s channelling Lovecraft as a describer of the given world. And some passages in Michal Ajvaz when movement occurs. But none of these writers has quite the air of transparency that makes the stories assembled in A Life on Paper seem untold—until you look again, and realize that a deep magic has opened you. Nothing matters in this book unless it has been told, everything is told. Open this book.

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