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Album Zutique: No. 1 (Album Zutique) by Jeff…
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Album Zutique: No. 1 (Album Zutique) (2003)

by Jeff VanderMeer

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This is a volume of contemporary Decadent writing. The unique aspect of this book is that the Decadent prose and tales are NEW, rather than 100+ years old (there aren't many writers still wringing in the Decadent style these days). I really enjoyed the odd stories; quite strange to read the Decadent style within a contemporary context. My favorite story was "The Scream" by Michael Cisco, an absolute delight. I love stories that are the literary equivalent to drugs, and Cisco's work was like taking a handful of mushrooms. No apologies; just a one way ticket on a runaway train into madness.

The name of the book comes from a 19th century Parisian poet's circle called the Zutistes. This literary coven included the likes of Verliane and Rimbaud. When they met they'd put out a blank album. Members were encouraged to write anonymous poems into the album if they so wished.

Some of the stories really surprised me with their level of sophistication and knowledge of obscure aestheticism. A trademark of Decadent writing is over-refinement. Some of these stories distilled incredibly wild concepts down to their essential oils; an ultra-potent elixir for the senses. I kept thinking, "How did the writer even come up with this stuff?" Great fun! ( )
  Dead_Dreamer | Jan 12, 2010 |
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