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The Complete Butcher's Tales
     

The Complete Butcher's Tales

by Rikki Ducornet
 

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In the fantastic tradition of Borges, Bruno Schulz, Angela Carter, and H. P. Lovecraft, here are nearly sixty unforgettable stories that ignore the confines of space and time to offer, among other times and places: a cabinet of curiosities in contemporary Cairo, an alvhemical ceiling in 18th-century Naples, the hallucinatory inner worlds of psychotics,

Overview

In the fantastic tradition of Borges, Bruno Schulz, Angela Carter, and H. P. Lovecraft, here are nearly sixty unforgettable stories that ignore the confines of space and time to offer, among other times and places: a cabinet of curiosities in contemporary Cairo, an alvhemical ceiling in 18th-century Naples, the hallucinatory inner worlds of psychotics, anthropomorphic planets, and an Old West ruled by necromancy.This expanded, revised edition collects the complete short stories of one of the most immaginative writers of our time.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"... garishly vivid, splendid little nightmares." -- Library Journal

Dalkey Archive Press

Charlotte Innes
Linguistically explosive and socially relevant, these works are solid evidence that Rikki Ducornet is one of the most interesting American writers around. . . . The tales are deep pools of darkness, illumined by powerful glimmers of hope. . . . We need writers to look at these difficult issues in a sophisticated manner. Ducornet has done this. She is a mirror or our innermost selves. And she gives us back to ourselves--despairing, hopeful, active, contemplative, fractured but surviving, playful, even happy sometimes, and always whole.
Charlotte Innes, Nation 6-6-94
Chicago Tribune
"She writes like a stunned time-traveler, testifying in breathless fragments to exotic ages that have gone or never were--or howling like a medium, an enormous radio tuned into the secret dreams and irrational obsessions of ancestors and neighbors. . . . Her strongest stories invoke the hallucinatory confusion of our earliest memories in which the details are vivid but the context of the adult world is incomprehensible; little that comes later in life strikes us with the same deep resonance."
Robert Chatain, Chicago Tribune Books, 7/17/94
Los Angeles Times
"Rikki Ducornet is a mischievous imp of an author; she ought to be spanked for having such a good time. Her stories are like a crowded nursery in a wealthy British home in the end of the 19th century; she writes with an imagination that floats off out the windows like a helium balloon, like Peter Pan. . . . She forces the language to speak with the voice of the subconscious. And the stories hold together, they feel complete (if not in the ordinary beginning and end sense of the word) but the details (an 'unusually complexioned pebble'!) are sublime."
Los Angeles Times Book Review, 5/29/94
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark provides the epigraph; his Jabberwocky donates the title of one story, ``Brillig''; and something of his creepy whimsy--mixed with a pinch of Chekhov and a hint of Rod Serling, among others--informs all 54 of these short pieces, 30 of which appeared in a limited Canadian edition in 1980. Best known for her Tetralogy of Elements novels, a series that recently concluded with The Jade Cabinet , Ducornet here offers a brilliant, refreshingly varied collection: a shoe salesman in Florida, apparently modeled on her maternal grandfather, inspires ``Shoes and Shit''; a mysterious flying jade saucer that blots out the sun and presages other more vile desecrations is the subject of ``The Jade Planet''; in ``The Imaginary Infancy of Heinrich Schliemann,'' the young archeologist's father tries to determine his future through copromancy. Unhinged old women, fey children vaguely menaced and menacing pubescent girls also populate these stories, which are all told in prose of such beauty that one can't help silently mouthing the words. Fluid, studied, almost overripe, it is also intensely visual: ``A mature albino ape, its heart pierced by an arrow, falls from a tropical tree. As he falls he attempts to catch the bloody ropes spouting from his breast. In truth his wound is fathomless, a mortal fracture in the body of the world.'' (Apr.)
Library Journal
There's little straight narrative in these 50 brief, tantalizing fictions from the daring author of The Jade Cabinet ( LJ 2/1/93), and it doesn't all work. But the best pieces are garishly vivid, splendid little nightmares. In ``Max, Moleskin and Glass,'' a flamboyant, eccentric lesbian has herself enbalmed and encased in glass in the pose of writing a famous, unfinished sentence, thus becoming the darling of the surrealists. The title character in ``The Tale of the Tattooed Woman'' is so consumed by hate she bites the head off a pet canary, then lures her dog into a trap and delights in watching it bleed to death. Filled with self-loathing, she first marks herself with ink as a reminder ``never to kill again.'' In ``Haddock's Eyes,'' a sort of literary homage, ``Borges, Uqbar's most celebrated chronicler,'' directs the author to an archaeological dig in quest of ``early Gnostic curios.'' An old hag in ``Desire'' implores her daughter to ``be kind to this moldering fruit. . . . We are all born princesses only to shrivel in the sun.'' An acquired taste, to be sure, but worth the effort.-- Ron Antonucci, Hudson Lib. & Historical Soc . , Ohio

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564782298
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
10/28/1999
Pages:
172
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.57(d)

Meet the Author

Rikki Ducornet was born in New York and has lived in North Africa, South America, Canada and France. Her work as an illustrator first came to the attention of the Canadian book trade in 1974 with the publication of Susan Musgrave's "Gullband". In 1983, the Porcupine's Quill commissioned Rikki to illustrate an edition of Jorge Luis Borges' "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius".

Rikki is the author of three short-story collections, seven books of poetry, and seven novels, including "The Fan-Maker's Inquisition" and "The Jade Cabinet". She is also a painter whose work has been exhibited widely. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.

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