THE GARDEN (DIRECTOR’S CUT)

Garden_R1 cover1 copyIn 1994, in the company of Italian anarchist & photographer “Dekaro,” the author travelled across Morocco & the disputed Western Sahara. The notebooks from that journey furnished the basis for The Garden which, after appearing piecemeal in magazines, was published as the inaugural title in the Salt Modern Fiction Series (Cambridge, 2001). Long out-of-print, this complete, unexpurgated edition restores to its full scope a work that more than twenty years after it was written remains confronting. Hashish-infused, amphetamine-driven & ranging in bold thematic cross-cuts from the seminal “garden” of the Book of Genesis to Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights The Perfumed Garden of Shaykh Nefzawi to Pierre Guyotat’s Eden Eden Eden & Derek Jarman’s film of the same name, Armand’s The Garden is by turns excoriating & lyrical, political & pornographic, a blasphemous ransacking of literary & theological pieties – “a practice, an ascetic aesthetic,” as McKenzie Wark wrote in one early review, “for moving toward feeling in the pure form of its impurity.”

The Garden [Director’s Cut] is an amplified exposition of the original. In this complete version Louis Armand takes you into hyper-imaginative zones as astounding as a Moroccan garden – as seductive as its fragrance and as artfully designed. It’s a chimerical tale of disorientation and lust – the chronicle of a writer with debilitated perception “pouring His morose soul into His writing-machine.” (Pam Brown)

Conceived  “in the confrontation of light & intractable unlight,” this incredible piece of the supreme Manichean and above all, post-Epicurean writing, sums up the best traditions of contemporary “Western” literary thinking and that Eastern one, exemplified by Nizami’s Diwan or Attar of Nishapur’s The Conference of the Birds. Above all, this « novel » or the author’s travelogue breaths through the air and floats above the hot dunes of human history in the brightest daylight of contemporary fiction. (Nina Zivancevic)

Imagine being on a movie set of a film modernizing the story of Marduk and Tiamat, with a script based on the writings of Georges Bataille and Maurice Blanchot, and the actor playing the Marduk character asks the director for his motivation in the scene when he first meets Tiamat, unaware that the director is on speed. The director riffs The Garden. (Gregory L. Ulmer)

The Garden flows like boiling water you quickly have to catch before it spews all over the stove. There will be no periods stopping you as this is an unpunctuated piece of internal enjambment, annotating rhythmic genius. The experiences I had during this journey were both arduous and palpitating as this is a living, breathing piece of work. I constantly find myself returning and invariably glimpsing a new painting from this ever-changing and clean canvas. (John David Bull)

The Garden [Director’s Cut] is published by 11:11 press in Minneapolis, September 2020.

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