Malpertuis cover image, Malpertuis. Jean Ray. Atlas Anti-Classics 5. Translated and Introduced by Iain White. ISBN 0 98 8 pp 19 x 17cm, out of print. Jean Ray’s novel Malpertuis is a strange little book indeed. It’s not immediately obvious wherein lies the strangeness, but don’t despair. Malpertuis by Jean Ray – book cover, description, publication history.

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Malpertuis is a complex and at times confusing novel, but it’s also a fantastic one, full of exactly the kind of stuff that I love in my weird fiction, as well as the kind of stuff that I love in my Gothic fiction. The Harry Dickson stories are admired by the film director Alain Resnais among others. Extravagantly weird mid-century refitting of gothic dread around an eerie house and cast of odd characters vaguely competing for an inheritance.

The frame narratives were cool. I wasn’t sure that the same level of greatness could be achieved in novel form, but this is as good as his best short fiction.

Men are not born of the whim or will of the gods. Perhaps I shall find it in me to write a review at some point that will do Malpertuis justice, but at this point I think I just need to let the feelings it stirred within me percolate.

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Drawn back to the doomed house. Do to the vast inheritance they’re all to receive they unanimously decide to move to the mansion. It appears malprtuis first to be about the peculiar inhabitants of the house of Malpertuis, in a city which is presumably Ghent in the dying days of Francophone supremacy; but in fact it turns into a peculiar confrontation between the organised Catholic church and the gods of ancient Greece.

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I was totally satisfied. You can’t tell jeab things are really happening or imaginary. The book is a mystery of sorts. I can’t even begin to describe how much I adored this mysterious and inscrutable tale of tenebrous and awe-inspiring gloom.

It was quite a complex narrative structure, with four embedded narratives within the main one, and a big cast of characters that took time for me to get my head around but once I had settled in, this book was a pleasure to read.

I have to mention the visual quality of this book, it’s like a German expressionist film. It starts like a dream and turns into a nightmare, with a feverish consistence and a relentless pace. Apr 20, Nate D rated it really liked it Recommends it for: I did not read this. It’s a really, really bizarre book. Lovecraft, when transplanted into the suffocating Catholic context of a Belgium scarred by the inquisition, produce in Jean Ray’s masterpiece a story of monumental intensity from which events of startling ferocity break the surface – without ever lessening the suspense of the tale’s approaching apocalyptic denouement.

Vintage Pop Fictions: Malpertuis by Jean Ray

The story primarily takes place in a dark mansion; poorly-lit by lamps and candles, full of high ceilings, long shadows, black corridors. He’s thrown into the drama to fulfill his newly created destiny. I really had no idea they were gods until near the end rau the book. Return to Book Page. The main story itself seemed a bit underdone.


Atlas Press Anti-Classics – Malpertuis – Jean Ray

Jeaan are familiar ingredients for a Gothic novel, but something far more strange and disconcerting is taking place within the walls of Malpertuis as the relatives gather for the impending death of Uncle Cassave. Though I’m more of a sf reader than a lover of fantasy, I appreciate well-written fantastic fiction, and this novel by Belgian novelist Jean Ray is a real masterpiece of the genre. He discovered that many the ancient gods still lived, but in a gay weakened form.

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It’s a frustrating thing to put us through. A wonderfully weird and humorous horror fantasy, like Poe on acid.


I can’t wait to read this book. Posted by dfordoom at Become a LibraryThing Author. Malpertuis is a crumbling, ancient monastery where a dying warlock has trapped the aging gods of Olympus inside the skins of ordinary citizens. Malpertuis certainly mlpertuis elements of the gothic, of the surreal, of the decadent, and of what Americans were starting to call weird fiction.

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