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Image credit: Me standing in front of Miro's statue at the square de l'Oiseau-Lunaire in Paris.

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Traitor Comet (2023) 5 eksemplarer

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
-ARC provided by Outskirts Press and LibraryThing.-

A truly singular novel, "Traitor Comet" keeps a close focus on the doings, ramblings, and arguments of a diverse clique of clever characters as they wrestle with Life, the Universe, and Everything in the Paris of the late-1920s, presenting the whole in a language both elegant and familiar. No doubt, the writing here is the star; the tone matches the artistic bent of the cast and the streets of Paris itself: "Notre Dame, with its ivory stone, glowed from the spotlights trained on it. The cathedral dragged its reflection in the river like a tattered veil." (p.55) Nice.

Some of the characters are historical figures, Robert Desnos and Antonin Artaud in particular, while others fictional as the author's stated intent is to animate the lives of the artists. The verisimilitude is strong enough to sweep the reader along comfortably, and the p-o-v main character is a perfect foil for the more pretentious excesses of the poets, actors, and painters. Geoffrey, our main character, presents us with both the central question and the Gorilla-in-the-Room. Avoiding spoilers, he's in the midst of an existential crisis, having lost himself along the way, and the hurly-burly is both his cure and his nemesis. His search for answers is the greater human quest, I guess, asking 'what is identity?' and 'who am I?' The mechanism chosen by the author to drop Geoffrey into this search is either a ripping metaphor or an intrusive bit of SFF more at home in urban fantasy; it's up to the reader to decide, it seems.

"No one insists a corpse is still alive or a bird is still an egg but somehow a man is always what he used to be, and if he takes charge of his future people say he's not himself, that they don't know him anymore." (p.361)

To me, the biggest drawback of 'TC' is that it does meander and does not meet the sea, it ends at a caesura and sets up a sequel instead. I look forward to reading the sequel but did want more satisfaction from this volume.
… (mere)
MLShaw | 2 andre anmeldelser | Dec 8, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I truly enjoyed reading Traitor Comet. It centers around yet another World War I vet who cannot find his place in society and questions everything his family values. He randomly meets Surrealists, and through his interactions we learn about the movement in Paris. That said, I must mention that I knew next to nothing about Surrealism--I remember seeing a couple paintings by Dali--so I cannot comment and how well the author portrayed Antonin Artaud, Robert Desnos and the others. I can tell you the novel kept me interested, and I will be learning more about the movement.… (mere)
Powderfinger69 | 2 andre anmeldelser | Dec 4, 2023 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Traitor Comet is a novel about a man who cannot see inside himself anymore. Since Geoffrey Wilhelm Weidmann is his only true witness, he cannot understand himself and needs to seek out those who can help him gain insight. In his past, Geoff had been a roughneck, a student of the violin, a World War I combat veteran - a self-made man in an era of post war liberation.

Geoff had a bad dream on his last night in an old farm house in the Austrian countryside, formerly owned by his father. He had isolated himself and his wife in an attempt to gain some peace of mind and find something of value. Geoff’s father had moved to Paris with Goeff’s brother Franz and family. Until now, Geoff had rejected city life and his family seeking self-understanding in a subsistence life.

The dream was an excruciatingly frightening experience about the discovery of a dead man in his bed. Geoff believed that he may have killed this individual who now was rotting in his bed. He, escaped the farm and traveled to Paris to live in Franz’s home.

Walking the streets of Paris and visiting cafes, Geoff met many free-thinking artistic personalities Including the leader of the surrealist art movement Andre Breton, a surrealist poet, Robert Desnos , and a stage actor with surrealist playwright intentions Antonin Artaud, poet, dramatist, and play director.

Geoff is stiff and anxious when he arrives in Paris but soon is accepted by the unusual characters in and around surrealist circles. Geoff is liked immediately even though he doesn't like himself at this point. The surrealists recognize something in the sensitive, confused man.

As Geoff becomes freer with his own thoughts and writes poetry relying less on language that is governed by literary rules and more on free expression of words that evoke unconscious experiences, he is more accepted and influenced by the two surrealist freethinkers Bresnos and Artaud who have gone beyond Breton’s restrictions presented in his famous surrealist manifesto.

At this point in the novel, Personne began to evoke many experiences in me that were beyond surreal by describing the adventures, social interactions, and artistic presentations of the bohemian characters.

Traitor Comet is a very good novel, and I look forward to reading, The Starfish, book 2 of a continuing series.
… (mere)
GarySeverance | 2 andre anmeldelser | Oct 3, 2023 |

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