GLASSHOUSE

! ! Glasshouse front cover PUBLISH RGB“À ces mots, il s’est tu. Assez de mots! Il c’est tué.”

Set in and around Jardin des Plantes, Paris, Europe, the World, the Universe, Armand’s short novel is a whodunit with multiple twists. The setting of the tale against a backdrop of fossils and marvels of taxidermy gives Armand’s story a macroscopic dimension. As if the evolution of an entire species could be compressed into several hours of a Sunday morning. As if a tale of a murdered schoolteacher and a vengeful mob could tell of speciation and extinction throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth. And it can. Armand’s deftly written fragmentary narrative is a point-counter-point of silent unheard voices, whose apocalyptic finale eschews euphony in favour of a cacophonous refusal of resolution. “NO END” – loose ends being preferable to final solutions…

ISBN 978-0-9931955-7-0. 128 pages. 1st edition. Paperback. Publication date: October 2018. Equus Press: London.

*Read an excerpt at Minor Literature[s]: “La Grande serre

“Louis Armand is among the best literary authors working today. In GlassHouse, he ushers us into a world of intrigue, surreality and dark romanticism, exposing the intricacies of (un)consciousness with the combined flair of Joyce, Kafka and Burroughs. This is first-rate writing—Armand’s exquisite prose is a delicacy to be savored.”—D. Harlan Wilson, author of J.G. Ballard

“Armand writes to the self-reflexive atmospherics of a wild hallucinatory noir. His narrative folds itself again and again, so that each new chapter deepens a sense of cramped desolation and despair. The constant mood of this inescapable dread comes from the tangible stink of evil evoked by his image-lathered prose. He writes in vivid spit gobs of language that detonate carnal images into a wrecked spiritual landscape. Who are his characters? They’re fragments, angles and suffocating close-ups thrown back at us out of receding nightmares. And Armand really does get close up enough to show that not every argument from evil fails. If he’s asking what it would take to redeem these characters and their worlds he’s doing it knowing that if you have to ask then you aren’t reading him right.  Armand’s is a bleak and fierce imagination, filtering life’s rancid nightmare through detective tropes that often feel like they’ve drowned. By the time we get to the end we realise the detectives and the dead are all skewered by the incoherence of any final resolution. That, and by Armand’s smart black humour. A great read.”          Richard Marshall, 3AM Magazine

GlassHouse by Louis Armand should first be read as the novel that refuses at once any overload of words and the silence, as its epigraph in French suggests, because both overload and silence are fatal. It should also be read, as its title indicates, as the presentation and the defense of transparency. The latter is paradoxical since it is attached to the power of observation that the novel exemplifies and to the menagerie and exhibitions of the Musée d’histoire naturelle of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, that it is to say, to the transparency of the glass that protects what is enclosed or fixed. This protection is synonymous with the spectacle and designation of the whole history of evolution with its continuities and holes. This double reading defines the poetics of GlassHouse — a detective story that should turn silence and clues into words and finally meets the enigma of the mob — and its universe, at once cosmic — the evolution commands a cosmic view — and strictly local — the Jardin des Plantes, its neighbourhood and its residents. Or in other words, a whole world and the cosmos are included in a glass house, the Musée d’histoire naturelle and the novel. Because the latter cannot be an overload of words, it offers only a series of portraits and scenes, from the offices of the Musée to the murder of a young female teacher, with many holes that are figurations of the hole of the universe. The portraits — a detective and his associate, a secretary at the Musée, the head of a department, his successor, a female student, some others, and a ‘fishboy’ — are kinds of images that confirm this novel is a play upon totalization and detotalization, lucidity and obscurity. It consequently offers an ironic or contradictory view upon our present, the alliance of realism and fantasy, causticity and playfulness.”Jean Bessière, Sorbonne-Paris III

“A corpse slathered in ectoplasm has film noir detective Schönbrunn pursuing the killer rapist through a familiarly unrecognizable Paris – Louis Armand’s sectioned novella finds narrative creeping forth from an excavated Jardin des Plantes; seams of poetry spiel throughout a masterly array of vertiginous prose mechanisms – pitch visceral, snot-gilded sequences that leach forth plot at oblique slant. ‘The vast constellated grid was like a metaphor for all he believed in, all he’d sought to achieve or know, all he doubted.’ – Before we engage with their thoughts and actions, our protagonists’ names themselves spin about arresting conceptual orbits: a Lacanian conceit of Oneness; the baroque architecture of imperial Habsburg; racial politics; keyboard Kabbalah of Mitteleuropa; the prophet Mohammad; an evolutionary algorithm that creates computer programs who adapt like a living organism (GEP); a dildo in the shape of a penis with a scrotum; the trigger of a gun; an extinct genus of lobe-finned fish ‘who lived a long time ago in a rock’, and of course is a stoner. Ruinously crystalline, GlassHouse confines a rewarding pell-mell of literary tip-offs and esoteric taxonomies, fracking each other up before the fatality’s dissolve to lucid absolute – all this, plus an inexplicable fear of ants, Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder, oasis pelicans and a wallaby enclosure: ‘How, despite everything, Paris always gave him, Qwertz, the impression of God staring down into his own navel. . . .’ – maelstromphalos, ripper.”Richard Makin, author of Dwelling

“Set around the same Parisian Jardin des Plantes which inspired Goethe and Rilke’s romantic outpourings, GlassHouse offers a counter-narrative to this tradition by leading natural history to the point of its autocritique, where words and things have a hard time matching. By cycling through a host of vividly realised characters and stylistic modes, between searing black humour and soaring unfettered poetry, it decomposes rigid arborescent taxonomies into prismatic subdivisions of the event. Poised in this uncanny border zone of the incompleteness of formal systems, this is writing which pushes language to a state of disequilibrium.”Thomas Murphy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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