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Louis Armand’s The Combinations


Armand swims wildly in this loopy political mix, but from the perspective of a gate-crashing HP Lovecraft/Bill Burroughs/Tom Pynchon knee deep in all the alchemical conspiracies of occult politics. Here’s a longish extract just so you get the swirling razor energies of the book:

‘Recently T.H.’s conscience has been troubling him more than usual, on account of this Heydrich, who’s had most of his (Kulička’s) colleagues tortured & shot on account of some private obsession to get his hands on the lost alchemical library of Rudolf II & one volume in particular, the Roger Bacon manuscript, socalled, the original (but not copy) of which, unbeknownst to Heydrich (but not to T.H.), is at that moment residing in a safe deposit box at the First Bank of America, Manhattan branch, registered to the widow of one W.M. Voynich. Kulička’s on the Gestapo’s most-wanted list, but so far T.H. has had the advantage: he knows Josef Kulička doesn’t exist, while the Gestapo (he thinks) don’t yet know he exists.
The idea had come from Eldrich von N____: they’d known each other since childhood. Kulička is T.H.’s insurance policy & a convenient cover for Eldrich von N____’s scam-mongering: his insurance policy is that he’s managed, through old Silesian family connections, to get himself a junior commission at the Ministry of Inertia, complete with desk, pen-set & tailored grey SS uniform. When he’s not busy supplying the “enemy” with morale-defeating celeb gossip about Goebbels’s latest Barrandov blockbuster (photo opps with all the big names — Moravec, the Havels, Goebbels’s fat wife — having quite the time of it, he is) & generally hobnobbing away from the office, Eldrich von N____, self-styled baron-in-waiting ever since his father’s been safely ensconced in a sanatorium on Lake Geneva, moonlights (a fact not unknown to his superiors, some of them his best customers) as an agent for the Golem City Book Emporium — Buchstabengetreu! — earning fat commissions in the antiques trade.

Business is good. In fact, from where Eldrich von N____ is sitting, so to speak, it couldn’t be better. Together with T.H. — a graduate of the historical restoration programme at the National Visual Arts Academy — he’s put together a nice little sideline in lesser-known rare editions, all fakes of course, sold at considerable profit to unsuspecting collectors: everything from Gutenberg psalm books to the works of that lunatic Englishman, William Blake, sometimes even the odd papyrus from the 2nd Intermediate. They’ve been at it for years, even before Munich, taking regular jaunts up to Berlin with autograph copies of everything from Schiller to Sharkspier, milking the market in cultural Anmaßung.’

This is a literature losing its balance, the underbelly of scam religion, a chiasmus of ‘plugholes, ashtrays, diseased vaginas, symbols and systems of entropy; the bottom of a glass or an uncrossable ocean; the whole cosmos of sensory derangements.’ It offers no truths nor the temptation shared by all forms of intelligence, cynicism, deals a generous psychology that pays some attention to details of a pure despair, that of Faust, the detailed efforescences of its accumulating actions where noting is a gesture but is a participation. This is going out far behind closed doors! Prague is the ever present absence and locus of the chiasmus. Prague from prah means threshold. On the verge of the baroque ‘that never quite materialises’.

It’s the baroque version of Beckett’s impossible game of chess in ‘Murphy’, Endom’s offense, ‘… struggling to remember the proper combination of moves that constitute the usually innocuous Vienna Game: pawn to king four… knight to king’s bishop three… pawn to queen four (!)… & afterwards? White’s pawn-exchange tilts the game towards an open paradox neither player seems aware of, distracted as they each are by concerns of a different order — terms like “classical” & “hypermodern” have no currency here, it’s all gut-instinct & joining-the-dots — T.H. blundering his king into an impossible position just as one of the undercover cops gets up from his table & heads across the terrace into the restaurant, probably to take a piss but who knows, could be making a phone call to HQ: We’ve got your man right out in the open. He’s a sitting duck. Want us to bring him in? Even Eldrich von N____ can see there’s a checkmate coming in the next move.’ What we read makes a much deeper impression than what we’ve seen with our own eyes.


In another Prague novel, ‘Kye’ Tomin writes to bluff analogy:
‘Like the postcard you’d shown me/ Like a dried up skeleton afloating on the river of her dreams/ like a fossil/ like charcoal/ like a cockroach in an old boot/ like a madman in a barn/ like a map of a large country impossible to visit’ – one thing never leads to another and Armand takes from this that ‘… this irresolvable dialectic exists only as long as we believe it does – as long as we insist that writing must, in a sense, be like something.’ So just as Tomin writes against the usual Prague lit culture of surrealism, phenomenology, magic realism and says he’s ‘above all interested in silence’ Armand recognises all of this and starts to frantically, brilliantly make noise so make visible this literature that refuses disclosure, refuses tribalism, refuses to deliver instruction or message. It’s another way of recuperating the marginal. Armand walks a hundred yards, a hundred years, a few yards, whatever, sceances the poet Farnsworth in Prague and his ‘spare, reductive intensity’ and his farce-discourse that knows that in Greece there were free men because they had slaves. Such understanding leads to an overwhelming impulse to cast ourselves away and reject everything: Ortega Y Gasset – ‘to be a farce may be precisely the mission and virtue of art. This is history in a cracked mirror, or cracked actor. Poetry in Farnsworth is social by virtue of what it is (not by whatever obligations it places on itself – ‘ the world becomes coated/and hidden with words/the terrible mistake of language/the only thing worse is fluency.’ (dalek bird poetry) and goes with Trotsky when he writes:

‘… art, like science, not only does not seek orders, but by its very existence, cannot tolerate them…Truly intellectual creation is incompatible with lies, hypocrisy and the spirit of conformity. Art can become a strong ally of revolution only insofar as it remains faithful to itself.’

In panto there’s an Esperanto of farce used not for what it means but for the sake of life. The model here is Frank O’Hara’s Personism, an offhand version of Sartre’s austerity poetics, that of ‘… the chosen poverty, the refusal of early success, the constant sense of dissatisfaction and that permanent revolution which he wages against himself and others.’ He breaks with ‘the hankering after a sense of moment. A rejection of self-fetishisation of institutional avant-gardism’ that recognizes that MTV is public television and the high culture critiques of mass cultural kitsch mentality by Clem Greenberg and Marcuse that can’t appreciate the engagement with the kitsch of O’Hara, Berrigan etc. As Tocqueville warns: ‘ It is always a great crime to deprive people of its liberty on the pretext that it is using it wrongly.’ Armand likes that Farnsworth delivers poems both intonationally and flat – ‘ between poetico-engagement on the one hand and the resources of boredom and entropy on the other hand…’ By refusing the claims of both Rosenburgian flatness and Greenbergian flatness, neither subjectivism nor formal purity, Armand writes that ; ‘It’s as if Farnsworth had set out to demonstrate that a poetics which rejects illusion of depth… is thereby able to surmount the limitations of a poetics preoccupied with the political signified.’ His flatness exacerbates depth, ‘flatness at high volume’ where intonality is the medium and this, the medium, is where the resistance is happening. What all this means is that in Golem City we’re looking to strike a bargain to have whatever we lack. But it’s no longer the goods of the world. We have those. it’s the other stuff. It’s an inverted Faust situation where we ask God for what we lack and agree to sell our bodies to Him at the end. As Camus’s devil explains: ‘And that will be your eternal punishment’.


Armand finds this inner context of flatness and action in Lebanese artist Nadim Karam and Atelier Hephastis. Karam’s ‘Prague project’ where strange constructed figures of mythical beasts and people on a bridge over the river in Prague aim to bring down paradigms by releasing ‘…unrealized possibilities of seeing things otherwise.’ Kandinsky and Miro talk about this in terms of the ‘swerve.’ Farnsworth treats narration not as illusionism but ‘… as textual surface-effect, its flatness corresponding to the resistance (e.g. of affect) which is the medium itself.’ Poetry haunts margins because it resists regularisability and ‘names the subjective in language…’ and is ‘… the mode par excellence of a resistance at the heart of the so-called political’, a programme that succeeds only through failure. You need to be two people when you read Armand, the first one to govern your own inner sense of whatever is mysterious, the other to try and work out the best translation, like an oath of allegiance commited despite the feeling that so much is underwater. If there’s monotony it’s that of Proust or de Sade, one that carefully finds itself a meaning that cannot be taken away by death.

Another key feature is the book’s poetic nomadism, which is part of his artillery against the Goethe who writes: ‘politics can never be the subject of poetry.’ Nomadism for Armand is about displacement through estranging the object of poiesis, incorporating what was not made for it. Pierre Joris on ‘The Seamlessly Nomadic Future of Collage’ in 2005 comments on a remark by Picasso:

‘If a piece of newspaper can become a bottle, that gives us something to think about in connection with both newspapers and bottles too. This displaced object has entered a universe for which it was not made and where it retains, in a measure, its strangeness. And this strangeness was what we wanted to make people think about because we were very aware that our world was becoming very strange and not exactly reassuring.’

Armand’s mind roves, nomadic style. Olson’sMaximus’ was collage material. Plato’s hostility to poesis was just his awareness that poetry is just language and thus language itself is ‘ruination… of a particular type of thought or dianoi’ – the thought without knowledge or even thought. Badiou’s ‘event’ mirrors the strangeness of the displaced object. And if a political rationality of exclusion presupposes its contrary then are we merely at the point where ‘ the appropriation of the political to the “revolutionary formal innovation” of a generalized collage-effect.’

Nomadism in Joris reincorporates the displaced object so that collage becomes like the nomadic pastoralist – weak state, strong society where each singularity reifies the whole. Actually, there’s a western bias in this analysis which presupposes the strong state, weak society model of the western polis when nomadism is the opposite – strong society, weak state. The dialectical ‘seductions from Plato to Hegel to Marx are here constantly in play exposing what we might call the seductions of the anti – (anti-Platonism, anti Oedipus, anti-colonialism etc).’

Armand quotes Joris quoting Tengour on North African colonialism, post-colonialism and eleven hundred years of Arabic colonialism…

‘A domain that misleads. Political jealousy far from the exploded sense of the real. Indeed there exists a divided space called the Mahgreb but the Mahgredian is always elsewhere. And that’s where he makes himself come true.’ But then this oddity – ‘Ibn Khaldoun found himself obliged to give his steed to Tamerlaine’ and the conclusion that it is the marking of boundaries in this special social arrangement that is decisive. But what’s interesting is that this is what culture does: mark out hierarchies within the polis. What it doesn’t do is mark the boundaries of the polis as it does in the western nationalistic model. It’s kinship that delivers the principles of organisation and cohesion, as Ibn Khaldun makes clear:

‘… the simple mechanism by which [a tyrant’s] emergence and rise to power take place. In a canton the aspiring amghar gains control thanks to the support of a loyal faction based on his own patriarchal family… In a tribe he triumphs because of the strength of his leff… In a larger field still, the great caid subdues tribes… with troops provided by his tribe. He gives the renumerative task of collecting taxes from remote tribes to fellow members of his canton and tribe. It is essentially the exploitation of a whole area by a single tribe… The concentric structure of the berber state founded by force explains the facility with which it is established and organised, but it also explains, at the same time, the speed of its disintegration.’

For Khaldoun cohesion and civilisation are antithetical. ‘Cohesion is the fruit of hardships of tribal life: hence tribes can on occasion form major political units, but they do so only in the image of their previous tribal existence. In doing so they lose their cohesion in the end [takes about three generations] and the unit disintegrates… all political centralisation is unstable and ephemeral’, as Gellner summarises it.

Looked at from the perspective of North African nomadic tribalism the model of nomadism is hardly one that can provide the avant garde’s fatal desire to remove the centre. Khaldoun presents us with a precise anatomy of a society based on nomadism where dissection from the centre is never lethal, the monarchy at the centre is always preserved as are the tribes in the periphery. Yet Western eyes have tended to see nomadism as fatal for the centre. Nomadism in this occidental misreading is where wherever the nomad dwells they are never at home and this then become analogous to a view of language which poetic logic nomadises and makes uncanny. Heidegger might have called this Dasein: ‘I’m here’. That old fraud Badiou has based his whole career on this error, universalising his Western polis so that everything, including poetry, are conceived in such a way, seeing the centre and the periphery locked in a fatal struggle when actually they are necessary elements of a stable synchronicity. Badiou ignores this, and he transfers his error into his analogy with language and poetry. ‘The poem has nothing to communicate. It’s only a saying, a declaration that draws authority from itself alone’ he declares. Badiou concludes that nothing in language is destined. Language is a symptom. It is nomadised from its origin and ‘poetics is its articulation’ so … ‘The poem introduces the following question into the domain of language: what is an experience without an object?’ He concludes : ‘ … thought of the poem only begins after the complete disobjectification of presence. ‘Badiou assumes this relation between the poetic body and the body politic and says the elements of the poem are not some inner life or externalized object but ‘their own “existence” … their textility or what Joris calls “wordnetting.”, which is also ‘their event.’ ‘The poem presents itself as a thing of language, encountered – each and every time – as an event… The poem…from beginning to end…declares its own universe.’

For Badiou this connects with the Platonic idea of poetry being ‘a remainder or even anti remainder (a negative definition of the ideal polis)’. Let’s overlook the fact that Plato’s city wasn’t part of any nomadic culture, and that Badiou seems to practise philosophy as a totalitarian romp through different cultures, never troubled by any resisting evidence, and run with this so we get to see the link between this and Hans Bellmer who makes the same point without basing it on such an error thus:

‘The sentence too resembles a body which seems to invite us to decompose it, so that an infinite chain of anagrams may recompose the truth it contains.’

And leave it to Armand to summarise a point that may be taken as a point of departure, a way of grasping some of the elements being combined: ‘The collage-body’s elemental existence is traversed by intensities of articulation. Trellis, word-netting, caravan of syntax, mosaic: a surface of migrating symptoms (objectless signs, if this itself weren’t almost a type of pleonism.)’ Eventually there is a move (in Olson and identified by Joris) away from Plato’s exclusion of poetry from the polis, the power of the margin and grasping a radical nomadism ’born within the gesture of the polis.’ Redemption then becomes from poetry ‘… as mirror to a quasi-nostalgic seeking after a place of acceptance for poetry within the polis.’

Of course Armand is not going to be convinced by any sleight of hand that ends up taking itself seriously as a conclusion to the avant gardeist problematic. He wonders what nomadism is for if a certain type of poetry is just seamless dissimulation across borders ‘… an art of camouflage … by which so-called philosophic truth is finally de-objectified, not simply as hypotheis (or counterveiling poetical fiction) but, as Michaux says, in its own-most “terrifying mobility and tendency to dissolve.” Armand understands nomadism in terms of Khaldoun rather than Badiou: it is a systematic preservation of the centre and not its defeat. If the avant garde ideal of decentralisation is to be understood as a form of nomadism then Armand recognises that it will have to be understood as a process, a flux, rather than an achieved end.

He cites Joris: ‘ If Pound, Joyce & others have shown the way, it is essential now to push this matter further, again, not as “collage” but as a material flux of language matter, moving in and out of semantic and non-semantic spaces, moving around & through the features accreting as a poem, a lingo-cubism that is no longer an ‘explosante fixe,’ as Breton defined the poem, but an ‘explosante mouvante.’”

Which as always raises the perpetual problem of a permanent poesis revolution – where commoditisation and its detritus commands the plains. The problem: ‘… wherever discourse addresses itself as a dogmatic objectification, the logic of the commodity prevails.’ The revolution always fails – ‘if poetry is to be revolutionary it must assume a risk. Above all it must risk itself. It becomes a condition ‘a tropic movement that doesn’t seek resolution, is without an object-correlative… ‘perpetual inventory’ as Rauschenberg says, which constitutes its own temporality, and its own end.’

Armand distrusts authentic reader/writer experience no matter how ironised or sentimentalized. He’s seen it happen, the domestication of ‘experimental writing’ where ‘independent’ and maverick’ become code words for ‘rogue vested interest.’ ‘Realism’ becomes a matter of having the last word ‘whilst handing over scapegoats if only to maintain familiar prerogatives for the next fifteen minutes.’ What do books with avant garde impulses become in this our contemporary context? ‘Cash corpses.’ It’s into this particular inferno of despair that he’s writing his magnum.


His twist is to turn to a the Traumatic realism he’s already autopsied in relation to the poet John Kinsella. (And Australia itself, the margin-land that repressed the indigenous societies already there when it became a prison and then a primitive pastoral and then on and on, in all manifestations thinking as if the world looked on whatever it was as an enemy whilst actually it couldn’t care less. It’s where Kinsella’s poetry of landscape operates in that seeming gap between nature (so called) and the beatific vision – the aestheticisation of something without categorical value into something that works – contemplation, work… ‘pastoral framing geography as something redeemed from a kind of oblivion.’) Armand does the same by framing the story he presents through a bashed in prism of oblivion history. For this traumatic realism Warhol is a key figure whose all-over approach to the poetic art logic is ‘referential and simulacral, critical and complacent’ all at once, all over, as Hal Foster puts it. ‘I want to be a machine’ is traumatic realism defined, traumatic because… ‘it may point less to the blank subject than to a shocked one, who takes the nature of what shocks him as a mimetic defence against this shock..’

Kinsella’s poems do Warhol, do Warholian logic, pointing to a missed encounter with a missed encounter. Here trauma is bound to the poetic as the movement of a return of the unrepresentable. The real can’t be presented as simply an array of objects and in Kinsella ‘narrative poetry with horror as its subject subscribes to the worst aspects of commitment. It necessarily becomes fetishised and commodified itself.’ An alternative to this vision is ‘work that wants nothing but to exist.’ Armand’s traumatic realism is everywhere but perhaps most obviously in his gesture to the printing presses, his play with fonts and design throughout, the explicit attention drawn to the text qua physical object, the central trope of the secret text that is nevertheless repeatable. His bibliophilism, the libraries and archives and the quest amongst copied and original versions for the document with the key is all another layer in his effort find that Tolstoyan meaning in the face of inevitable death.

Repetition becomes a testing of the exceptionalism Adorno and Aristotle assume will deliver us from mere techne et al and serve up authenticity and the real. Even revolution when conceived of as an achieved stasis – ‘The Revolution’ – on these terms has faltered and failed to deliver in the light of this logic. Warhol’s Disaster series offers trauma not purely in terms of the content but in its operations of technique where “a slippage of register or a wash of colour’ serves to do the work. Armand’s different fonts, modes, use of footnotes work in the same way to reveal the operations of the book as technique. It’s a sort of sublimated pornography where the digressions and slips away from the finished ‘seem accidental, but they also appear repetitive, automatic, even technological’. Armand makes it clear why he has written his writing down as he has: ‘It is no longer a question of the implied disquiet of an image prepared to expose itself as radical abstraction, or even as mildly licentious wallpaper, but as naked commoditisation.’

Plus – and this is you dear reader – it hasps the whole performance to ‘the guilty conscience of the museum goer’ where, as Warhol knew, ‘the more you look at the same thing, the more the meaning goes away’. All this is possibly mediated by Lacan’s definition of trauma as ‘ the missed encounter with the real’ where trauma is the opposite of the singular – it is a compulsion to repeat the missed encounter. The encounter is therefore what is not representable but only repeated, Freud’s adage haunting the art civilisation with the reflexive shock that ‘repetition is not representation’.

Australian Kinsella’s poetry draws itself in around this, as does Australian Armand’s Golem City visions. If Warhol represents the failure of mainstream art to grasp the missed character of this non-encounter with the real and the compulsive seeking to manufacture in its place images and discourses about it then Armand and Kinsella bring this to the novel of ideas. Trauma masks a primal displacement. ‘the institution seeks to externalize the idea of trauma which it displaces into artifacts, even treating itself as artifact and rehearse an institutional-critical rhetoric against itself ‘but only as an integrated element in the overall spectacle.’ Armand’s book – the whole material object including its cover – is no mere objective correlative but is it’s own displaced fact.

Roland Barthes dreamed of Armand’s book when he writes: ‘only allude to writing before going off somewhere else’ where writing becomes a quasi-linguistic function existing already in excess of itself, ‘rehearsing the contemporary tropes of the semioticians’. For Barthes the photographic image can’t be made into an analogue for something else because it is the analogue of the impossible, ‘an image whose detonation is … finally reducible only to the reflexive movement of its own enframing, between two shots, two anachronistic moments. ‘ It represents ‘the perfection and plenitude of its analogy.’ And that analogy risks being mythological and artefactual. ‘an issueless predicament of nothing.’ Armand’s novel is a sequence plenum of this Barthean process, all the time wondering – ‘if not writing, what the fuck is this?’.

The alphabet – another prominent material character in Armand’s book is also a crucial peg linking the uncanny space and time of the novel to its peculiar phonetical possibilities which disrupts and breaks away from the comforts of thinking in classical Greek terms. How’s that? Armand is playing with the suggestions of McLuhan and Pound in this game. McLuhan raised the possibility that ‘only phonetically literate man lives in a ‘rational’ or ‘pictorial’ space. The discovery or invention of such a space that is uniform, continuous and connected was an environmental effect of the phonetic alphabet in the sensory life of ancient Greece. This form of rational or pictorial space is an environment that results from no other form of writing, Hebraic, Arabic or Chinese.’ And Pound said: ‘In Europe, if you ask a man to define anything, his definition always moves away from the simple things that he knows perfectly well, it recedes into an unknown region of remoter and progressively remote abstraction… By contrast to the method of abstraction, or of defining things in more and still more general terms, Fenollosa emphasizes the method of science, ‘which is the method of poetry’, as distinct from that of “philosophic method”… and this is the way the Chinese go about it in their ideographic and abbreviated picture writing.’ If Armand ghost writes to the Montage-effect all these influences feed and snag his novel, catch its great themes and irrepressible movement that Jean Bessière has already recognised

‘“… exemplifies remarkably the possibilities of the genre and contradicts the contemporary obsession with its decline and commodification. The Combinations unites several narrations, many gnomic and proverbial expressions, various literary frames and historical data/backgrounds. Humor, puns and highlighted commonplaces — however slightly altered by Armand’s ‘écriture’: ‘A man’s only the sum of his whatsits, after all’ — make the reader able to preserve their own identity and point of view. Comments and pauses are allowed, as shown by the ‘Intermission’ section. That applies to future amateurs and defines the novel’s play upon continuity and discontinuity. In its construction, The Combinations compares with David Mitchell’s novels; by its balance between ‘totalisation’ and ‘detotalisation’ with Michel Butor’s Degrés. Louis Armand’s questioning humor, use of commonplaces, and rewriting of many typological stories recall the reflexive attitude of Robert Coover. The cover of The Combinations should not be ignored either, in that its collage offers a precise introduction to the novel. The Combinations should actually be viewed as starting with its front cover and ending with its back cover. That just confirms the questioning power of the novel, since the cover does not show any text, except for the author’s name and the novel’s title in quite small print’ which is enough to get you started.

A final take home: in England excavating underground tradition has tended to work in the opposite direction of Armand’s generous and democratic , avant garde, anti-authoritarian, juiced up, republican spirit. English writers see Armand’s democratic tradition as the end of civilisation and the beginning of the damned modern world. T.S. Eliot is perhaps the most obvious and powerful figure exemplifying this, but the whiff of a royalist, authoritarian and anti-democratic tradition often puffs itself around less important writers too. For Eliot and his clan the civil war never ended and his attacks on the republican tradition are notorious. So according to this old mystical Royalist, Milton built a ‘ Chinese wall’ across poetry, his words were just vague visuals leading nowhere ‘outside of the mazes of sound… the facile use of resonant names’. Contemporary literature was the mere detrius of Romanticism and ‘tends to be demeaning.’ DH Lawrence’s ‘vision is spiritual, but spiritually sick’, Yeats a little Irish occultist with a minor and peripheral mythology, Bernard Shaw, HG Wells and Bertrand Russell prose writers without convictions and ‘good prose cannot be written by a people without convictions.’ Pope and Dryden pass muster but the Augustan Age failed to produce an English Racine. Overall Eliot was content to pronounce that ‘ We all agree about the cultural breakdown’. And modernity’s seething mobile flux became for this Nobel Prize winner personified in the person of the Jew who becomes the notorious target of Eliot’s noxious and unforgivable racism. Eliot sees restoration of a Latin and Catholic Absolutist civilisation as a bulwark against these ruinous Republican, democratic and protestant tendencies. Of course, and here’s the rub, Pound, Joyce and Baudelaire were lauded by Eliot for their cultural conservativism as well as their originality of expression, a triumvirate that has been co-opted by the devil’s party too, but the point is that in this English tradition alternative histories tend to have the restoration of a Catholic Royalist Absolutism as its toxic end.

Armand, an Australian writer working in Prague, has combined his presuppositions into a novel bigger on the outside than on the inside. History presses in on it, and it’s a different history to that which animates English ‘literary politics’ which Northrop Fry likened to ‘a heresy… a partial insight with a “seductive simplicity” which is “altogether more plausible than the truth.” The orthodoxy of which it a larger heresy would be, or include, a much larger “truth” about our very complex situation than the mythology of decline affords.’

Armand has written an important and corrosive novel, which is a commitment to creativity in the face of absurdity, a politics of avant garde literary concentration and experience that knows, as Camus had it, that:

‘The innocent is the person who explains nothing.’


Richard Marshall is still biding his time.

Buy his book here to keep him biding!

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First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, August 16th, 2016.