Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Kzradock the Onion Man and the Spring-Fresh Methuselah: From The Notes of Dr. Renard de Monspensier" by Louis Levy (Wakefield Press) Trans. by W. C. Bamberger

ISBN: 978-1-939663-28-3 Wakefield Press
Louis Levy's "Kradock the Onion Man" is a fantastic novel. Reads and written as pulp, but has many layers (like an onion - ha) that at the surface seems to be a crazed thriller, but alas, it's very 20th-century angst. In a nutshell, the plot is regarding a doctor in a mental hospital who is looking over a patient with troublesome patterns that leads to violence and surreal overtures to what is and what isn't reality. Our Dr. Renard de Montpensier chronicles the narration, where in essence do we trust his point-of-view? The novel was written and published in 1910, and I believe the novel was serialized in a newspaper or publication. It reads like a serial, where there is a cliffhanger at the end of the chapter. So it is pulp, but I think this piece of Danish literature is picking up the vibes of 1910 Europe. Like all good art, its ears are picking up things that we the public are not aware of. The book is full of surreal horror scenes that are theatrically set pieces, where one can almost meditate on its meaning or how it conveys within the plotting of the novel. It's interesting that both Gershom Scholem and Walter Benjamin were fans of "Kzradock," so they must have picked up on the vibrations that are within the story. The afterword by the novel's translator W.C. Bamberger is enlightening and enjoyable. Thanks to him and Wakefield Press bringing Levy's book to the 21st century. A superb book.

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