Post exoticism in 10 lessons.Lesson 11 by Antoine Volodine

Post exoticism in 10 lessons.Lesson 11 by Antoine Volodine

French fiction

Original title -Le Post-exotisme en dix leçons, leçon onze

Translator J.T Mahany

Source – review copy


It began when they come took me from my home
And put me in Dead Row,
Of which I am nearly wholly innocent, you know.
And I’ll say it again
I.. am.. not.. afraid.. to.. die.

I began to warm and chill
To objects and their fields,
A ragged cup, a twisted mop
The face of Jesus in my soup
Those sinister dinner deals
The meal trolley’s wicked wheels
A hooked bone rising from my food
All things either good or ungood.

i choose Nick Cave’s mercy seat as it is also a man reflecting on his life in Jail .

This is the second of four books I got sent from Open Letter the american publisher .I have been aware of Antoine Volodine ,via the three percent podcast (a good podcast for fans of translated fiction ) .So Antoine Volodine is the main Pseudonym of a french writer , he has also used Lutz Bassmann ,Manuela Draeger and Elli Kronauer .All the books he has published have been around a near distant future and a group of writers that form a movement called “Post exoticism ” .

Lutz Bassmann passed his final days as we all did ,between life and death .A rotten odor stagnated in the cell , which did not come from its occupant, but from outside. The sewers in the city fermenting, the docks in the habor were emiting a rancid signal, the covered markets were stinking terribly as they often did in the springtime when both the waters and the temperature began to rise .

The opening lines evoke his last days so well .

The book is one long piece that is based on Lutz Bassmanns last days ion a prison in the near future as he looks back on the Post exoticism movement and the writers involved in the form of ten lessons .The text forms a description of his present in the jail and intersped with piece from his fellow writers in the Post exoticism movement , so we get a piece about the romance ,whioch mentions an earlier book in the series Minor angels (which was the first in the series I remember hearing about ) .Other lessons specific terms critics of the time use in the reviews .Through to a final list of 343 works that make up the cannon of Post exoticism (I assume these are books the writer has in mind to write or use in other works ).I struggle to describe this as it is a series of pieces about this imagined movement  as great whole as a radical movement of testing writers breaking the law with the words .

7 Specific Terms

We all know that is hazardous to analyze the post-exotic production with terms conceived by official literary critics, made for performing autopsies on textual cadavers that riddle their morgues. The exercise is possible , though at a price of mental contortions that turn post-exoticism into a meeting place for the schizophrenic and haughty elite, perversely infatuated with illegible music .

One of the lessons about how to critic and use certain terms .


I struggle to describe this book,as it is totally  unique  and really it is part of a great whole that forms a great work, almost a  vision .A new  way at looking at fiction .The words and works these writers involved with this movement in the near future are testing the boundaries and testing what writing can do .This is maybe a radical look at the future and how writing could be dangerous again .This book is maybe a great starting place as we find a little about the series and the writers involved (although they are all Antoine Volodine ).For me it was a start of a journey through this writers work with at least 20 plus books to be translated we have a lot to look forward too .I have been hooked this is a short book that will set you thinking about this future and the myriad of writers Volodine has conquered up for us to discover .

Have you read Antoine Volodine or one of his alias ?

October 2015


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