Thursday, December 01, 2011


My Twenty-First Book

A big parcel of books turned up at my house yesterday afternoon. It had come all the way from Romania. When I cut the parcel open (with a duelling dagger bought in Toledo seven years ago) I was overjoyed to find the box packed with copies of my latest book, Sangria in the Sangraal! All the books produced by Ex Occidente are exquisite, authentic collectors' items, and this one is no exception. In fact it's utterly gorgeous!

It seems a little uncouth for an author to praise certain of his books more than others; a good father regards all his children as special. But I can't resist declaring this volume to be extra special to me. I truly believe that it has magic about it, I can't quite define how or why. Anyway, I probably should leave such judgments to others. I'll just say that the fact it's now in print has helped make the cold wet Welsh winter a lot more bearable to me.

I ought to point out that this book was originally entitled Tucked Away in Aragon and it was inspired by a visit I made in 2007 to the little town of Albarracín. It features 10 linked stories and is a complete epic in miniature, covering 1000 years of Spanish history. Influences on this book include Potocki, Alarcón, Dunsany and (of course) Calvino. I would like to thank Dan Ghetu (who runs Ex Occidente) not only for the superb aesthetic values of the finished book but also for having the courage to issue something a little different to his usual productions.

Most of the authors published by Ex Occidente write books that are dark; books that are full of mysteries, subtleties of mood and atmosphere, and a love of the metaphysical and weird. But generally the subtleties and effects are dark. True, the darkness may be speckled with gleams like faint stars, but the backdrop is mostly dark. Sangria in the Sangraal isn't like that. It's mostly light and speckled with only a few negative stars, like black holes in heaven. There is comedy and acute absurdism and unashamed anthropomorphism. There are sentient clouds and anachronisms and postmodern ironies à la Barthelme.

Anyway, the book can be ordered directly from Ex Occidente here. or from Fantastic Literature Limited here. I think that copies will also be available soon from Realms of Fantasy Books and Ziesing Books.

You are an amazing writer. I am sure you know that, but I felt the need to tell you and say Thank You for doing it.
Well, it's very kind of you to say so! I'm sure I remember you from MySpace. How is life in Norway treating you?
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