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Baroque Memories

Paul Carter

RRP: GBP 14.95
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Price: GBP 13.45
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ISBN: 978 1 857540 70 3
Imprint: Carcanet Fiction
Published: September 1994
223 x 144 x 10 mm
176 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • L----: a city of serpentine streets and elaborate faades (not unlike the Baroque city of Lecce in the heel of Italy). Here Christopher, a student of the Baroque, meets the lost migrant Nostalgia. In the novel's nine chapters, each consisting of two obliquely related tales or meditations that twine round one another like Baroque double spirals, a host of fantastic figures cross their paths: Grazioni, inventor of the camera profonda; the bald Contessa von Economico; Philophilus the tour-guide; and the two L---- exiles, Martin Magellan (involuntarily) and Doctor Duende (voluntarily).

    Thoughts and destinies, casual meetings, suicide attempts, erotic adventures, are determined by the physical and architectural properties of a place. Here memories continually transform themselves; they do not belong to the past but shadow us into the future, the might-have-beens we cannot leave behind. Baroque Memories wittily dismantles conventions of plot and character. Carter dwells on surfaces -- faces, time-worn facades, clouds, tumbling sea, random sounds. He finds a way of writing about migrant experience, the sense of being thrust out of an historical time and 'freed' to construct a self from one's surroundings.

    In mocking the philosophy of depth, Baroque Memories pays affectionate tribute to the 'second Baroque school' of Pessoa and Borges. Its comic repertoire of volcanic palaces, metamorphosing noses and lonely photographers poignantly evokes the loneliness of the migrant between nostalgia and utopia, inhabiting imaginary cities and desires.
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