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EQUUS (Écriture en Quête d’Usage); CONTACT: editions.equus@gmail.com; WEBSITE: www.equuspress.com.

Friday, September 23, 2011


CLAIR OBSCUR, a novel by Louis Armand 

Equus Press 
October 2011, 288pp
Prague / London
ISBN 978-80-260-0112-6

*To be launched (along with issue 2 of VLAK magazine) during the London Small Publishers Fair, 12 November, 5 pm, at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

About the novel: 

Set against the backdrop of the 1990s war in former-Yugoslavia, Clair Obscur presents a sustained reflection on memory, guilt, fantasy and desire in late twentieth-century Europe. Its cinematic prose ranges between forensic realism and poetic psychology, like the films of Resnais and Bertolucci its language frequently evokes.

Written from a screenplay that won honourable mention at the 2009 Alpe Adria Trieste International Film Festival, Clair Obscur explores with lyric candour what the struggle to come to terms with conflicting pasts may entail in an era which infamously proclaimed the end of history. 

Order from: www.equuspress.com


Louis Armand (*1972)

is a writer and visual artist who has lived in Prague since 1994. He has worked as an editor and publisher, and as a subtitles technician at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. He currently lectures in the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University and is an editor of VLAK magazine. He is the author of seven collections of poetry (most recently, Letters from Ausland, Vagabond: 2011) and a number of volumes of criticism (including Solicitations: Essays on Criticism and Culture, Litteraria: 2008). Clair Obscur is his third work of prose fiction, following The Garden (Salt: 2001) and Menudo (Antigen: 2006).

Critics on Menudo:

"Menudo is a thump to the head... unrelenting, a flying wedge, an encyclopaedia of the wasteland, an uzi assault pumping desolation lead... inspiring!"
--Thor Garcia

"The true heart of darkness can be found in Menudo, a soliloquy/monologue erupting from the psyche of a delirious being, “an almost familiar figure, barely cohering & already coming apart” who nevertheless possesses the all-seeing eye, as in Alain Robbe-Grillet’s La Jalousie. The territory is barbarous and sadistic, yet beautiful—a hallucinated Mexico that Armand portrays with an incomparable eloquence." 
--Jane Lewty

Critics on The Garden:

"Louis Armand's The Garden is a single text, presented as prose, but definitely "poet's prose" (to borrow a term from the US critic Stephen Fredman used for the kind of hybrid poetry / prose work of Gertrude Stein, Robert Creeley and William Carlos Williams). What Armand presents us with here is a poetic novella produced as a single unpunctuated sentence; but a disjunctive one, where the viewpoint of the narrative switches fluidly between two principle characters: an unnamed man and a woman called simply "m". There is another subjectivity, a writing "presence" which could be Armand, could be an extension of the male character (or both?). The fluidity covers time as well, we keep looping back to the same few important scenes, glimpsed in different ways from each perspective. One thing is apparent -- somehow somebody has died, and it becomes clear that it is "m". The atmosphere of The Garden reminds me a lot of the work of the French fiction writer and theorist Maurice Blanchot - sparsely described interiors, characters who remain effectively faceless, an atmosphere of cold yet sometimes desperate alienation. It's an utterly European Modernism, rather than the American-influenced modes we mostly receive -- but then Armand lives in Prague. The writer-figure interests me: his own consciousness seems to flow out exhausting itself in a stream of words a literal death sentence & and what if it goes on write until you can't stand it any more then give it up..." 
--Keith Jebb

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