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DELIRIUM: The Rimbaud Delusion Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Length: 444 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1142 KB
  • Print Length: 444 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0952884399
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: PENTALPHA PUBLISHING EDINBURGH (30 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #512,594 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Delirium belongs to the class of book, of which The Magus is the most notable, in which the Narrator is recruited unwillingly and to a large degree unknowingly to perform the central role in a story created by others. Because we know only what the Narrator knows, we too are drawn into the tale and only by degrees do we understand its illusory quality: that it is a performance put on for the benefit of the Narrator and indirectly for us, and that its object is to convey some sort of lesson by humiliating the Narrator and shocking him or her out of a previous life.
In Delirium the main protagonist and principal Narrator, is Andrea who takes refuge in France from a failed love affair and some sort of breakdown. She is obsessed by the 19th century Symbolist boy-poet, Arthur Rimbaud, and his missing prose-poem, La Chasse Spirituelle, and this makes her vulnerable to the machinations of the Magician, Albert Abrike, and his young companion, who may or may not be a reincarnation of Rimbaud. She is tantalised with glimpses of the missing poem, but neither she nor we can tell if it is authentic or not. Accompanying this main narrative is a mosaic of contributions in the form of blogs and memoirs from other players in the mystery of the lost poem, and one of the strengths of the book is that these several storylines are developed and integrated without the novel losing its pace or coherence. Finally all the elements are pulled together into the great reveal at the end, in which the illusion and its message are both explained.
This is an excellent read. As well as displaying her technical mastery in uniting the narrative elements, the author creates a terrific cast of characters, each with his/her own voice. Of these, the mysterious and seductive Albert is the best and a fine invention.
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Format: Kindle Edition
An elderly blogger who has spent his lifetime trying to trace a lost document through the decades. A thirty-something fan recovering from the breakdown of her long-term relationship. The young wife of the poet’s lover. A beautiful boy who claims to be the reincarnation of the poet. A clerk working in a solicitor’s office by day with artistic ambitions of his own. A magician. The letters from a young wife to her husband in the trenches. The mistress of a collector of literary artefacts. An American detective who makes no pretence of being a fan of poetry. Here is a cast of obsessive fans, swindlers, liars and lovers.

A story told in multiple layers, the ambition of this century-spanning novel shouts out on every page. The premise pivots on a rumour of a lost masterpiece written by the rebellious and precocious young poet. Mystery had always followed Rimbaud who, after a dazzling four-year career, abandoned his art at the age of twenty for a vagabond lifestyle. In fact, many thought him dead long before his time. But is there any truth in the rumour or is it another forgery? After all it wouldn’t be the first time someone has
tried to pass off their own work as Rimbaud’s.

When Andrea makes a pilgrimage to poet’s grave, she embarks on a journey of discovery that will lead her to an answer – although not necessarily the one she was expecting.

Suspenseful, intriguing and haunting, this book will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion is a fascinating novel centered around the love affair between Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud in the 19th century. Through (fictional) letters, journal excerpts and beautiful atmospheric vignettes, Barbara Scott-Emmett weaves in a story about a lost manuscript written at the height of Rimbaud and Verlaine's passion. The lost document is handed down to unlikely recipients, and reminded me a little of The Yellow King, where everyone who reads the book goes mad. But in the case of The Rimbaud Delusion, people who come across the manuscript seem to fall in love, one way or the other. We leave the 19th century to follow the lost writings well into World War II and its aftermath, and the mystery is at last solved.

Every section has been so carefully crafted in its historical and emotional atmosphere that we feel the passion of a young man in 19th century as easily as the distress of a mother in WWI, the freedom of the Roaring Twenties and the post-WWII bitterness. My only complaint is that I greedily wish there were more scenes dedicated to the great love of the poets, as it is hard to come by novels that deal with their homosexuality so openly.

The historical part is interspersed with passages in contemporary times, and a clever and intriguing aside that I will not spoil for you. But I definitely recommend this book. I enjoyed it very much, and it was quite a page-turner towards the end!
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Barbara Scott Emmett's "Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion" is an ambitious novel in every sense. It's the product of a great deal of research and thought. It has multiple plot strands and multiple narrators, most of whom are unreliable, or at best partially-informed. It covers a considerable span of time, almost a century and a half.

To Rimbaud devotees, even the sniff of an undiscovered Rimbaud poem -- let alone a long and very fine undiscovered Rimbaud poem -- is enough to produce delirium, and this is where the novel begins and ends.

Barbara Scott Emmett writes very well, unusually well. She is able to master a number of narrative voices, from that of Rimbaud himself (insolent, spiteful, and aware of his own genius), to that of his rival Verlain's dull, bourgeoise wife; from a dry old Victorian clerk to a breathless and very modern 21st Century woman. There are also a dying academic, a Philip-Marlow-esque private eye, a 1920s Lesbian, and others.

Some of these characters are more original than others. But overall, it's an extraordinarily rich mix. The sheer number of narrative voices, however, presents the reader with something of a challenge. Jumping from one narrator to another, across time and space, is always a juggling act for an author. Some of the episodes are also repetitive. Well-written as they are, they don't always bring the story forward.

If this all sounds as though I didn't enjoy and admire the book, then I am giving the wrong impression. The book is a romp from start to finish, and the progress of the controversial manuscript, from the lily hand of Rimbaud, through two world wars, to the present era, is a masterful accomplishment. "Delirium" is an unusually good book.
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