“A MAJOR MODERN EPIC” —Ricardo Nirenberg
“Louis Armand’s The Combinations covers more linguistic territory than Dupriez’s Dictionary of Literary Devices and Vico’s On the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians COMBINED. Worthy!” —Gregory L. Ulmer
In 8 octaves, 64 chapters and 888 pages, Louis Armand’s The Combinations is an unprecedented “work of attempted fiction” that combines the beauty & intellectual exertion that is chess with the panorama of futility & chaos that is Prague (a.k.a. “Golem City”), across the 20th-century and before/after. Golem City, the ship of fools boarded by the famed D’s (e.g. John) and K’s (e.g. Edward) of the 16th/17th centuries (who attempted and failed to turn lead into gold), and the infamous H’s (e.g. Adolf, e.g. Reinhard) of the 20th (who attempted and succeeded in turning flesh into soap). Armand’s prose weaves together the City’s thousand-and-one fascinating tales with a deeply personal account of one lost soul set adrift amid the early-90s’ awakening from the nightmare that was the previous half-century of communist Mitteleuropa. The Combinations is a text whose 1) erudition dazzles, 2) structure humbles, 3) monotony never bores, 4) humour disarms, 5) relentlessness overwhelms, 6) storytelling captivates, 7) poignancy remains poignant, and 8) style simply never exhausts itself. Your move, Reader. Continue reading
A decade-by-decade portrait of 20th-century Australia through the prism of one family. Abacus is a novel about the end times, of generational violence and the instinct for survival by one of Australia’s leading contemporary poets.
“There is writing here that is twisted towards poetic vibrations of disgust and horror that’s inevitably funny in a wry desolate register, making the reading a degenerate pilgrimage.” Richard Marshall, 3AM Magazine
“Abacus weaves an erudite but harsh beauty from the tattered seams of Australian history.” Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald Continue reading
“There’s a fabulous aggregate of extraordinary, iconic Australianisms in this book—a northern river meeting a night sea in a kind of dreamy humid methadone metaphor, the tropical erotic-exotica of Donald Friend’s Balinese pen drawings, Richard Lowenstein’s classic-80s rock film Dogs in Space alongside a junkie Darlinghurst Gauguin selling his drawings to get money to score in a poem for John Kinsella that proceeds by a seedy Sydney-urban philosophising and aspires to a better life, ‘Patrick White as a Headland’, Charles Blackman, Francis Webb, and in Melbourne—a monologue from an Aboriginal boxer in Fitzroy, freeze frames at St Kilda Beach, Swanston Street, Brunswick Street and so on.” —Pam Brown Continue reading
What do a crashed satellite, a string of bizarre murders and a time-warp conspiracy have in common? Welcome to CAIRO, where the future’s just a game and you’re already dead.
Set between New York, London, Prague, Cairo and the Australian desert, CAIRO has been described as “a vivid, dizzying and ultimately exhilarating exploration of the global nightmare… forceful and convincing and fist-pumpingly hilarious” (Thor Garcia, author of The News Clown).
“A genre defying anti-novel… Like communism it is the movement of vast majorities unfettered by a state!” Stewart Home, author of Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie
Theorising the “poetic turn” in cultural discourse from the 1950s to the present, The Organ Grinder’s Monkey meditates on the post-avant-garde condition mapped out in the work of an international roster of artists, writers, philosophers and film-makers, from Abstract Expressionism to the New Media, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Luc Godard, Cy Twombly, Rosalind Krauss, Dusan Makavejev, Michael Dransfield, Charles Olson, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Guy Debord, Joshua Cohen, Pierre Joris, Philippe Sollers, Karen Mac Cormack, Lukas Tomin, John Kinsella, and others.
“Armand displays a formidable historical knowledge.” John Hawke, Cordite
“Armand is unafraid to ask the most basic questions, to go beyond the zone in which most cultural discussions operate in order to ask what underlies our capacity for thought, for imaging, for communication. Time and again he takes his reader to the edge of what is thinkable, subjecting familiar concepts to stringent analysis and casting an original light on old debates.” Derek Attridge Continue reading
CANCIULE is a savage coming-of-age story through the prism of 1970s terrorism, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Israel-Lebanon War… Three friends, each of them orphans, are brought together by fate in a small Baltic seaside town. Bit by bit their friendship turns to betrayal. When one of them commits suicide, the emptiness of their lives is laid bare… In the present, a sudden random act of violence brings two women together in mutual need and self-discovery. As the destinies of its protagonists intertwine, a story unfolds of love and betrayal in a time of failed ideology and moral crisis. By turns cinematic, hard-boiled, sensual, Canicule continues Armand’s exploration of the underside of the human condition.
“Armand’s characters are all caught up in that attempt to retreat from the flow of time. The great histories that are the backdrop to his narrative and the characters’ lives are the looming presences of life that requires we keep track of time, because it is always getting late there, and the urgency of the timetable is felt here as that of a doomsday clock. The tension in the novel is between a kind of vita otiose, understood as an impatient disappearance from life and from history, on the one hand, and epiphanies of death and history and time on the other. It is a tension that for each of the characters in their different ways becomes a process of undoing and dissolution, a threatened negligence from often self-imposed states of suspension.” Richard Marshall, 3:AM Magazine Continue reading
Kafkaville. Blake is a pornographer who photographs corpses. Ten years ago, a young man becomes a fugitive when a redhead disappears on a bridge in the rain. Now, at the turn of the millennium, another redhead has turned up in the morgue, and the fugitive can’t get the dead girl’s image out of his head. For Blake, it’s all a game – a funhouse where denial is the currency, deceit is the grand prize, and all doors lead to one destination: murder. In the psychological noir-scape of Kafkaville, the rain never stops, and redemption is just another betrayal away… (publisher’s blurb).
“A perfect modern noir, presenting Kafka’s Prague as a bleak, monochrome singularity of darkness, despair and edgy, dry existentialist hardboil.” (Richard Marshall, 3:AM)
“Who but John Kinsella and Louis Armand could have invented and laid out the 21st Century protocols that govern the intriguing collaborative poems in Synopticon? Encyclopedic, witty, packed with knowledge about arcane subjects, this is a book to sample and reread with ever-increasing knowledge, pleasure, and admiration.” –Marjorie Perloff, author of Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media and Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, Pedagogy.
Pierre Joris — editor with Jerome Rothemberg of the Poems for the Millennium series — writes in his Introduction: “The authors are not trying to pull some theoretical punches behind the scenes, out of sight of the reader. What I’ve called elsewhere ‘process-showing,’ i.e. the propositions inside the text that speak of & to the text, giving the reader a handle on the text’s formal moves & methods of composition, these are a user’s manual that is not added to the package as some external supplement, but incorporated into, part of the text itself… imagining the poet as ‘the last scientist of the whole’ (Robert Kelly), i.e. as a last generalist (we shall go in fear of specialists) for whom all knowledge whatsoever is of use; a definition that also proposes an ambitious dimension for the work: how to bring the vast range of contemporary knowledges — be they facts, perceptions, realizations, readings, dreams, speculations, criticisms, variations, whatever — into an open field that is not pre-striated (in Deleuze/Guattari’s sense of overdetermined).” Continue reading