I can't wait to read this book. I have seen the Kumel film and I concur with you about Susan Hampshire; she is amazing. She has done much wonderful television work over the years and is still going strong. Haven't read it, but I was quite taken with the early '70s film adaptation, starring an ailing Orson Welles.
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I can't wait to read this book. I have seen the Kumel film and I concur with you about Susan Hampshire; she is amazing. She has done much wonderful television work over the years and is still going strong.
Haven't read it, but I was quite taken with the early '70s film adaptation, starring an ailing Orson Welles. Saturday, November 20, Malpertuis by Jean Ray.
The works of the Belgian-born Ray are generally regarded as belonging to what Europeans call the literature of the fantastique. Malpertuis certainly has elements of the gothic, of the surreal, of the decadent, and of what Americans were starting to call weird fiction. The novel purports to be a series of manuscripts written at different times by various hands, but all relating in some way to a man named Cassave and a house called Malpertuis.
The prologue involves a sea voyage, but what is it that these mariners ate seeking? Perhaps it is the past itself. They encounter a fellow mariner who does not seem to belong to their own time. Does he exist in the past, or on another timeline? We then move on to the main narrative, written by the unfortunate Jean-Jacques Grandsire. The patriarch of the house of Malpertuis, Uncle Cassave is dying. His will is both generous and restrictive. The assorted relatives, hangers-on, servants and old acquaintances are all liberally provided for, but they can never leave Malpertuis.
They seem an odd lot, but young Jean-Jacques soon realises they are much than just odd. And the house is more than just a mysterious old house. Events occur that are so bizarre that Jean-Jacques doubts his own sanity. Even worse, he is uncertain if he can trust any of the other inmates of the house. Not even the beautiful enigmatic Euryale.
Perhaps Euryale least of all, but he cannot help but feel the extraordinary fascination she exerts. Are the inhabitants of Malpertuis demons? Phantoms of the mind? In fact they are none of these things but neither are they quite human. Jean Ray was a prolific author who moved easily between the worlds of pulp fiction and more serious literature.
He was also responsible for many of the Harry Dickson tales. I recommend it highly. Patrick Murtha November 20, at PM. Will Errickson June 10, at AM. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom.
Following the separation of my parents I stayed for a while with my grandmother. I was around seven years old at the time. The living room window looked out upon a run-down concrete playground, which, eerily, never appeared to be in use, despite the large number of children in the neighbouring tower-blocks. The old lady did not own a TV, most likely because she could not afford one, and so would each evening tell stories about strange happenings — involving ghosts mostly — which she insisted she had herself witnessed. I was told that she had once been a member of an old aristocratic and wealthy Scottish family, but, for reasons that were unknown or unexplained, she was dispatched to a sanatorium while still in her teens. There she received electric shock therapy, and, upon her release, was subsequently disinherited and banished.
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Malpertuis by Jean Ray
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