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The Orphan Palace [Anglais] [Broché]

Joseph S. Pulver Sr.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  13 commentaires
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Orphan Palace 25 octobre 2011
Par Brendan Moody - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
One often hears the fiction of certain writers praised as poetic, but the effects those writers produce actually have little to do with poetry. What makes their work so striking is a mastery of the rhythms of prose, so that their sentences fall with an elegance that may be simple or extravagant but is always orderly. Truly poetic language is another matter; largely the preserve of experimental writers, it awkwardly yet beautifully occupies the space between prose and poetry, can often be read either way depending on the moment and one's mood. Chomu Press has published a number of writers who explore this territory-- Brendan Connell and Michael Cisco come to mind-- but their latest release, Joseph S. Pulver Sr.'s The Orphan Palace, is the most mind-bending hybrid yet. The blurring of the line between prose and poetry is only the beginning; Pulver's sharp, dark narrative mixes Lovecraftian cosmicism, noir fiction, psychological horror, and urban squalor so seamlessly that it's hard to remember they ever worked separately. To say a book like this is "not for everyone" is a massive case of stating the obvious, but for the right reader, it's an awe-inspiring, mind-bending experience.

There's a plot. Of course there's a plot. "Plotless" is a word that's thrown around pretty often, but how many books really fit the label? Here, as is often the case in novels with such emphasis on style, the plot works around the demands of the language rather than vice versa. To quote Roger Ebert, it's the rhythm section, not the melody. The protagonist, Cardigan, twisted by terrible years in a children's home under the attentions of the cold Dr. Archer, is an arsonist and murderer, but in the world of The Orphan Palace, where inexplicable and unsatisfied yearnings are the only things you can be sure of and happiness is something to be observed from outside but never possessed, his insanity is simply a fact. Neither pathetic nor monstrous though his behavior can be both, Cardigan is simply who he is because he's incapable of being otherwise. His latest dangerous compulsion is a desire to head east, toward Dr. Archer and the unresolved past, even though he knows nothing good is likely to come of it.

Cardigan's journey, a series of small encounters with contemporary anomie and ennui punctuated by violence and by memories of his tragic childhood, is as marked by repetition as the mysterious, nearly-identical pulp novels he finds in a chain of worn-out hotels, but Pulver's language is never quite the same thing twice. At times it has the staccato quality of noir; at others a superficially similar style is so abbreviated and rhythmic that it becomes poetry; at yet others the poetry is far from spare, an ecstatic, irrational medley of morbid images that don't cohere on the literal level but have, when approached in the right spirit, the rolling intensity of revelation. No quotation can be representative, and the range of styles means that most readers will encounter some they don't care for. This is one of those books you can never quite get a grip on. After finishing it I halfway wanted to start again from the beginning, reading more slowly to appreciate the style, and halfway knew I couldn't reimmerse myself in the paranoid chill of Cardigan's world so soon. The cosmic terror of mythos creatures (most notably the Hounds of Tindalos) fits perfectly within the mental disorder of troubled children, and both align with the fatalism of noir and the serial killer's overwhelming perception of crawling good and evil. In a fittingly Lovcraftian touch, explanations are suggested but finally withheld, although their general nature is as obvious as Cardigan's insanity. There are bounty hunters, ghouls, elderly authors, and a talking rat, but somehow instead of feeling thrown together they're each as inevitable as the next note in a melody. If it's anything, The Orphan Palace is an extended song, one without music, or with a music that exists only as part of the altered state of consciousness its twisting language generates inside a reader's head. Some readers will, it must be reiterated, find this formless and ridiculous, and those who have no experience with Pulver's style are advised to sample it before making a purchase. But some who open themselves to it will find unexpected rewards. My own early uncertainty, born of disdain for what I perceive in most contemporary poetry and songwriting as disconnected and unsubtle imagery, melted into the appreciation offered here. What can I say? Perhaps Cardigan's madness is catching.

This is the twelfth book from Chomu Press, and like all their fiction, offers something you can't get from any other publisher. What's all the more remarkable is that its releases provide the truly distinctive without sacrificing quality: whether new writers or established names in the small press, Chomu authors use language so carefully and inventively that even the occasional misstep is less disastrous than one would expect in newly-launched unconventional publishing. There is no easy category in which to place Chomu's releases; the closest thing I can come up with is "disturbing fiction," where "disturbing" is more than an elite way of saying "frightening." It means breaking up, if only temporarily, the way one looks at the world, providing a new and baffling perspective on the reality we all inhabit but rarely observe. Whether that perspective is the absurdism of Rhys Hughes, the subtle moral philosophy of Reggie Oliver, or the discordantly poetic bleakness of Joe Pulver, it's always idiosyncratic and unexpected. Publishing being the business it is, presses that can maintain such a vision are rare, and those, like Chomu, that manage it deserve all the support that readers who genuinely appreciate the unique and the memorable can give them.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An Orphan Goes Home 15 octobre 2012
Par Walter Hicks - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.'s novel The Orphan Palace, published by Chômu Press, is a sprawling 'road' epic revolving around the episodic journey 'home' of damaged everyman Cardigan, a man unable to escape himself because, like all of us, he has become who he is because of the twists and turns of his life, and the subsequent choices he makes. Sound simplistic? Believe me, in the hands of the talented Pulver, it is anything but. Cardigan's bizarre but all-too-human journey across a desolate and horrifyingly familiar landscape, encountering malignant allegories in all sorts of outlandish forms, eventually returns him to the titular orphanage/asylum called Zimms, where his malformation as a child under the domination of the coldly ineluctable Dr. Archer continously festers like an unhealable wound.

UK-based Chômu Press' dedication to publishing "fiction that is both imaginative and unhindered by considerations of genre" is certainly very well realized here. The version I read is comfortable on the eyes; well-proofed and edited (all the odd capitalizations, unusual punctuation, off-kilter spelling and linguistic cadence are there on purpose!) The Peter Diamond wrap around cover art is perfectly evocative of the madness found within.

Pulver's writing is often lushly poetic, while being simultaneously brutally jarring, rendered in a unique and syncopated phrasing that is both captivating and austere. His striking prose notwithstanding, Pulver also possesses a searingly intuitive insight into the human condition that is painfully evidenced with each carefully turned word and phrase. There are ghostly echoes of various genres, influential authors and styles, but like a master alchemist, Pulver has forged his own unique mutant alloy, consisting of an often insalubrious mixture of clay and gold that renders a canny study in modern ethnography. While I readily confess to the belief that Pulver is a postmodern literary savant, his work will not appeal to all; this ain't no beach read or comfortably ensconced genre novel (and there's nothing wrong with either--when well-written and clever, I enjoy both). While here, the journey's mostly the thing, for me, the denouement is neither satisfying/frustrating nor inevitable; it is only one of many chance endings to a voyage impelled by the Tides and Winds of Chaos. So far, I have read this novel three times; the first in a rapid, 'what happens next?' fury, the second to see what I missed the first time amid the decayed ruins and rapid-fire violence, and finally, to savor the rich, layered textures of complicated syntax and deeply-rooted symbolism left for the reader to decipher. As Cardigan's conveniently oft-vanishing companion/tormentor, a rat named D'if allows, after being accused of being Fate's Finger: "I am but a tiny piece of Night." I can easily imagine a fourth and fifth read.

A very solid 4.5 out of 5.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Thrugh Darkest America 19 juin 2013
Par P. Rawlik - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The Orphan Palace is not an easy book, it is not a beach book, it is not a book that you are going to happily talk about with friends at the water cooler. The Orphan Palace is however a disturbing, road novel that harkens back to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as if it was written by an escaped lunatic. This is a novel of discovery, of self-discovery by a man who can't escape the demons of his past, doesn't want to, and is more than happy enough to burn your whole town down as to buy you a drink. It is author Joe Pulver's most ambitious work to date, and weaves together nihilism, surrealism, gothic sensibilities, and just a touch of the noir. There is a mystery here, but its incidental to the story, and as with all good noir, the story may end, but the mystery goes on, mostly because it is unsolvable. There are facets to the novel that could be considered magic realism, but it isn't Charles de Lint or Neil Gaiman that come to mind. Instead Pulver's Ghoul Hotel and Miss Kafka seem to have been drawn from the same source as Caitlin Kiernan and Brian McNaughton have drawn from. This is a new American road novel, one that acknowledges the darkness that has crept into the American soul, and now revels in the fact that sex, violence and horror are new gods, waiting to be appeased. Be warned, in The Orphan Palace there isn't just not a happy ending, from the outset it is clear, there can be no happy endings. Not for our protagonist, or for the reader. Highly recommended for those who revel in the night and the cities that dwell there.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A stunning and beautifully written story 11 mars 2012
Par Lena Griffin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Cardigan, the main character of this story, is... not a nice guy. He has Very Dark urges and tendencies, which he acts upon without a second thought or a moment of conscience. He is the way he is for a reason, though, and (much to my surprise), as I discovered things about his terrible past, I began to feel very close to him. My heart broke for him when I learned of his tragic childhood in an orphanage where he knew nothing but fear, helplessness, cruelty and violence. As I read on, I began to understand his burning hate and the need to seek revenge against the one(s) who had treated both him and his beloved companions so horribly. It didn't take long before I knew I was hooked, that I was going to stay with Cardigan on his journey, no matter what the outcome, as he traveled the long, dark roads toward revenge.

Hanging with Cardigan definitely has a serious effect on you, because you end up inside his head, hearing his thoughts and re-living his terrible memories right along with him. The surreal, dreamlike flashbacks and visions, the snatches of Cardigan's frantic, often-fragmented thoughts, and the unique style in which this story is written all combine to make you feel as though you're actually submerged in the nightmare and experiencing Cardigan's madness yourself.

This story is hardcore. It's also mysterious, frightening, heartbreaking and very beautifully written. It will stay with you, haunting you like one of Cardigan's ghosts, long after you've turned the last page.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 How can I opine on a piece so unique? 13 février 2012
Par Pearce Hansen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
I can but try. This book is nonpareil, it has no peers because it is unique and solitary. Joe is a poet, and a darkling one -- as a mere novelist, I'm not really qualified to parse the deep structure of this strange book -- but I can make observations.

The poetic structure in this is undeniable if strangely intuitive and un-analyzable. You mull over some of the crazier passages and you realize they're polished to the bone -- that Joe didn't just excrete some stream-of-consciousness psychobabble onto the page, but edited and revised as if his intent were to make this a book length poem rather than a prose novel -- but then, show me evidence proving that WASN'T his intent. You can't, can you?

Pulver succeeds in making Cardigan sympathetic, which is an incredible accomplishment given Cardigan's almost casual viciousness and destructiveness -- within the constraints of this story, Cardigan's mere EXISTENCE is an affront -- but somehow, without stooping to anything as puerile as 'diminished capacity' or any other moral/legal loophole, we are unable to turn away from Cardigan's inherent humanity.

Dr. Archer is more of an archetype, an OT deity almost -- as this book puts us firmly in the backyard of a writer unashamedly revering Robert W. Chambers' 'King in Yellow,' we almost expect to hear the fluttering of the tattered mask, or to see the black stars shine from the white sky above Carcosa. But no: this is not that kind of book.

Joe is not for everyone; he's an acquired taste, and there are those who don't 'get' him. The man is one of a kind, and this book is his proudest (and humblest, given his own reclusive distinction) that he has produced to date. Like strong wine, he rewards repeat sips until the bouquet is mastered and dominated.

I won't even deign to recommend you read this book. It's possible you're not worthy to join Joe Pulver's clan. But if you're one of us you'll find your way here soon enough -- and this book will be your first stop on the way.
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