A Cruel Man Delighting in Flowers

...the mildness to which men ... had yielded was only half of the intoxication of beauty, while the other half ... was of such surpassing and terrible cruelty—the most cruel of men delights himself with a flower—that beauty ... failed quickly of its effect... 

Hermann BrochThe Death of Virgil


Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He once painted a fingernail black and no one really noticed. He was disappointed. He’s also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. His first novel, 'Missing Presumed Undead', will be re-published by Satalyte Publishing in February 2014. A second is on its way.

The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky It is, of course, intimidating to write a review to attach to a book such as this, a masterpiece wrought by a master. I had read it before in a different translation perhaps fifteen years or so ago, and so it was I began to rediscover many of the ideas that influenced my own ideas. Some books become mirrors looking into mirrors, an abyss on either side, to use the very Karamazovian expression.

Within this novel, there are many levels, and many depths - and I use the word depths in particular. Dostoevsky is inventing the modern, in a number of ways, posing questions and formulating ironies that remain both fresh and so delishisly unresolved today, and are caught up with those kind of absurd notions that so influenced further thinkers and writers, such as Albert Camus.

If it may be intimidating to review, it is sometimes considered intimidating to read. I would argue that is part of its power, and suggest that any reader take their time with this novel. Do not treat it as three thousand roubles to be spent on one night's carouse. Treat it as a gold mine in Siberia.

Currently reading

Lyrical and Critical Essays
Albert Camus
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
Harold Bloom
The Rebel (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Albert Camus