Tag Archives: europe

The Monday Poem – Snow In Europe by David Gascoyne

Snow In Europe – Poem by David Gascoyne

Out of their slumber Europeans spun
Dense dreams: appeasements, miracle, glimpsed flash
Of a new golden era; but could not restrain
The vertical white weight that fell last night
And made their continent a blank.

Hush, says the sameness of the snow
The Ural and Jura now rejoin
The furthest Arctic’s desolation. All is one;
Sheer monotone: plain, mountain; country, town:
Contours and boundaries no longer show.

The warring flags hang colourless a while;
Now midnight’s icy zero feigns a truce
Between the signs and seasons, and fades out
All shots and cries. But when the great thaw comes,
How red shall be the melting snow, how loud the drums!


 

David Gascoyne also translated work by French surrealist poets.

The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer

1442: When Vlad Dracula arrives at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, his life is turned upside down. His father Dracul cannot protect him; he must battle his demons alone. And when the Sultan calls for the services of a soothsayer, even the shrewd teller of fortunes is unprepared for what he learns.

Meanwhile, the Ottoman Turks are advancing through the Balkans with Vienna in their sights and Constantinople, the Orthodox Greek capital, within their grasp. As Eastern Europe struggles against the tide of a Muslim advance it cannot counter, Western Christendom needs only one prize to overthrow its enemies. Blurb

BRONZE PRIZEWINNER AT THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER BOOK AWARDS 2017 FOR BEST EUROPE FICTION

Released: November 10, 2016

The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer by Lucille Turner is paranormal fiction presented as a historical novel. This is excellent and intelligent indie writing at a nice and hefty (and importantly, necessary) 486 pages.

I highly recommended this book to fans of supernatural or historical fiction, even if one of those genres isn’t usually your thing. Each character is fascinating and the settings are tangible.

Despite being set around war and conflict, there’s a real lack of action, which is a positive in my opinion. In many ways, this book reminded me of the first season of Game of Thrones where, unlike the books and the later seasons, we’re aware that fighting is going on but we don’t have to sit through the boredom of every punch and stab.

I much prefer the scheming and back-stabbing that we see through the dialogue and slight actions of the characters. Having said that, I wouldn’t have minded a few juicer scenes in this book… perhaps the odd swift murder or even sex scene.

I feel this would have fit in quite nicely with the overall tone of the book. The actual vampire stuff that you’d expect from the title and theme of the book is very minimal and this works surprisingly well.

LUCILLE TURNER’s first book, Gioconda, was published by Granta Books in 2011. A novel about the life of Leonardo da Vinci, it went on to win the Hislibris prize for historical fiction and was translated into several languages. She has a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and has worked as a translator, a journalist, a teacher and a book reviewer. She lives between Bournemouth and Nice and blogs about historical fiction at www.lucilleturner.com.

 

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With a multifaceted narrative, diverse characters, and stunning historical detail, this book is completely absorbing. The author stirs together history, myth, political intrigue, and religious conflict to create a gripping, expertly researched story. Was it a curse, a medical condition, or the simple fears of local farmers that led to the legend of Count Dracula? See what you think after reading. Highly recommended.” THE HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY

I’ve decided to play around with my ratings for this review and use a letter rating system (I am a teacher after all), so The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer gets a well deserved A-.

Lucille Turner kindly sent me a paperback in exchange for a 100% honest review.

5 Weird Fiction Authors

Not sure what to add next to your reading pile?

  1. Charles Baudelaire.
    Portrait of Baudelaire, painted in 1844 by Emile Deroy (1820–1846)

    Portrait of Baudelaire, painted in 1844 by Emile Deroy (1820–1846)

    French. You’ll probably like his work if you enjoy Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas de Quincey and Emanuel Swedenborg. Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a 19th century French poet, translator, and literary and art critic whose reputation rests primarily on Les Fleurs du Mal; (1857; The Flowers of Evil) which was perhaps the most important and influential poetry collection published in Europe in the 19th century. Similarly, his Petits poèmes en prose (1868; “Little Prose Poems”) was the most successful and innovative early experiment in prose poetry of the time. Goodreads

  2. Mike Russell. British. You’ll probably like his work if you enjoy Philip K. Dick, Angela Carter, Algernon Blackwood and Franz Kafka. Mike Russell is a British author best known for his books Nothing Is Strange, Strange Medicine and Strungballs. Goodreads

    Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell

    Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell

  3. Matthew Lewis. British. You’ll probably like his work if you enjoy Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. Matthew Gregory Lewis was an English novelist and dramatist, often referred to as “Monk” Lewis, because of the success of his classic Gothic novel, The Monk. Goodreads

    The Monk (Oxford World's Classics)

    The Monk (Oxford World’s Classics)

  4. China Mieville. British. You’ll probably like his work if you enjoy J.G. Ballard, Michael de Larrabeiti, Thomas Disch and William Durbin. A British “fantastic fiction” writer. Goodreads. He’s the fifteenth most followed author on Goodreads, with over 200,000 book ratings. Titles include Embassytown, Un Lun Dun and Railsea.
  5. Howard Wandrei.
    MURPHY: THE COLLECTED FANTASY TALES OF HOWARD WANDREI VOLUME II

    MURPHY: THE COLLECTED FANTASY TALES OF HOWARD WANDREI VOLUME II

    American. You’ll probably like his work if you enjoy William Peter Blatty and Shirley Jackson. Howard Elmer Wandrei was a US artist and writer. Goodreads

The Fantastic Bridget Bate Tichenor

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Let’s have a look at the work of Mexican Surrealist (yes, another one!) painter Bridget Bate Tichenor (1917-1990). If you had shown me the painting above before I knew about this artist, I definitely would have thought it was a Leonora Carrington piece.

Knowing that it is in fact by Bridget Bate Tichenor, the main difference between the two artists’ work for me is the spiritual feeling of their pieces. Both artists produced work with a profound spiritual presence, but Leonora’s seems more personal and delicate, whilst Bridget’s is comparatively universal and bold.

Needless to say, I love both! I really must go to Mexico one day – it clearly brings out the artist in a woman. I just need to figure out the coldest part and time of year…

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Above: Portrait of Bridget Bate Tichenor by George Platt Lynes, New York 1945.

Education Slade School of Fine Art, École des Beaux Arts, Art Students League of New York
Known for Painting, Fashion editor
Movement Surrealism, magic realism

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Born in France and of British descent, she later embraced Mexico as her home… She was the daughter of the Virginia born American NBC, World War I correspondent Frederick Blantford Bate and Sarah (Vera) Gertrude Arkwright Bate Lombardi, who were married after Bridget’s birth in 1919. Chisholm Gallery

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Bridget Tichenor’s mother, who was reputedly a well-connected descendant of George III, was the public relations liaison to the royal families of Europe for Coco Chanel. After an arranged marriage Tichenor moved to New York, where she attended the Art Students League of New York. In 1945, after the divorce from her first husband, she married Jonathan Tichenor, an assistant of photographer George Platt Lynes. Huffington Post

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She was among a group of surrealist and magic realist female artists who came to live in Mexico in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Her introduction to Mexico was through a cousin she had first met in Paris in the 1930s: Edward James, the British surrealist art collector and sponsor of the magazine Minotaure. James lived in Las Pozas, San Luis Potosí, and his home in Mexico had an enormous surrealist sculpture garden with natural waterfalls, pools and surrealist sculptures in concrete. In 1947, James invited her to visit him again at his home Xilitia, near Tampico in the rich Black Olmec culture of the Gulf CoastGood old Wikipedia

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