Alone, in an aqueous atmosphere where distant bells linger
July 1, 2014 11:13 PM   Subscribe

Diseased Gardens offers a selection of 20th C. weird fiction from Belgium and France as well as a checklist of strange fiction in translation.

"The Diseased Garden" by Michel de Ghelderode:
June 1917. With time what we most ardently desire almost always comes to pass; but such is the perpetual dissatisfaction of the heart that we fail to recognize it, or else that which comes to pass no longer lives up to the dream we had of it.
"Mondschein-Dampfer" by Jean Ray:
You'll be taken aback and say that I'm insulting Paris, Vienna and even London: it's Berlin that I love.
"Sibilla van Loon" by Marcel Brion:
I wouldn't have dared enter that room if the little girl hadn't stood in front of me and taken me by the hand.
"Fog" by Franz Hellens:
The most extraordinary episode in my life? It's a good question. For anyone capable of feeling, of observation, the most matter-of-fact existence offers really extraordinary circumstances where meanings are as it were turned inside-out, where one's awareness goes off down a queer path and loses itself in labyrinthine hallucinations.
"Donatienne and Her Destiny" by Thomas Owen:
Donatienne studied the house.
"It's a really ugly house," she thought.
"The Watch" by Thomas Owen:
It was raining. A dirty little fine grey rain that had lasted for two days.
"At Bernkastel Cemetery" by Thomas Owen:
This is a true story. It features Jean Ray, who has authorized me to report it here, so that I can insert a supplementary item into the dossier of that strange man who, much more than you can imagine, lived on the margins of our everyday world.
"The Matago" by Claude Seignolle:
On that warm autumnal close of day crimped with russet shadows, I'd stopped at the Green Oak inn, in the little town of S***, in Sologne.
"The Maidens of the Night" by Jean-Louis Bouquet:
For a long time I wrote adventure stories for the enjoyment of humble souls, novels that lead them always amazed and enraptured along cleverly winding trails, across the most well-gardened and best landscaped districts of the imagination.
"The City of Darkness" by Jean-Louis Bouquet:
Between 1925 and 1930 several singular individuals met each evening in a pavilion, under the leafy shadows of an old, private avenue in Auteuil.
posted by Monsieur Caution (4 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I've been thinking of getting the Tartarus Press volume of Thomas Owen’s stories, so it’s great to see a few of them on-line to try before I buy. I was going to recommend the same publisher’s edition of Marcel Schwob’s The King in the Golden Mask to anyone who likes this kind of thing: as it’s excellent, but I see it’s now out of print. Also, Jean Ray’s Malpertuis: previously.
posted by misteraitch at 1:07 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the post, I look forward to reading these stories. I have a friend who tells me that Belgian Francophone literature is a treasure trove of untranslated (to English) works that ought to be translated, especially Hellens. I picked up a copy of Ghelderode's Sortil├Ęges and a few Hellens in ebook format but haven't had the time (or ability) to read much of them.
posted by Peter J. Prufrock at 1:52 AM on July 2, 2014

Excellent, cheers. Great post
posted by dng at 4:45 AM on July 2, 2014

Great post, but missing my favourite Belgian weird (sf/fantasy/horror) author, Eddy C. Bertin.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:10 AM on July 2, 2014

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