- Hardcover: 512 pages
- Publisher: Coronet (21 May 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1473606616
- ISBN-13: 978-1473606616
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 4.2 x 24.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 259,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Vorrh Hardcover – 21 May 2015
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I am glad to have the book as a companion on my own dark quest. (Tom Waits)
Catling's novel reads like a long-lost classic of Decadent or Symbolist literature, with that same sense of timelessness. It's peculiar, wildly imaginative, unafraid to transgress and get lost, and is unlike anything I've ever read. (Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach Trilogy)
Darkly imaginative. . . . Packed with striking images . . . real beauty and power. (Kirkus)
One of the most original works of visionary fiction since Mervyn Peake. (Michael Moorcock The Guardian)
This is fine stuff. Like the best fantasy writers Catling succeeds in creating a compelling and believable parallel dimension. (Daily Mail)
Although comparisons to Michael Moorcock and Mervyn Peake will inevitably be drawn, The Vorrh offers something more...It reminded me of Odilon Redon: a combination of the luminous, the luxurious, monstrous flora and dark wit. (Stuart Kelly TLS)
The English language has given birth to some great works of unbounded vision and imagination, and here is another one... It's a very sophisticated and subtle exploration of the decadent, primitive and the mythical. Many books are said to be like nothing else, and aren't, but Brian Catling's really is. (Philip Pullman)
I really loved Brian Catling's The Vorrh. It's a hot storm of a novel bursting with art and history, sex and nature. A visionary fantasy epic that is incredibly fun to read. Wildly different, but no less remarkable. (Max Porter The Guardian)
Prepare to lose yourself in the heady, mythical expanse of the Vorrh.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
There's a defiantly steampunk feel to the novel, with a bizarre (yet real) handgun ([...]), so powerful it can split a man in two, a bow that has a symbiotic bond with its carrier and strange electrical / photographic machines that can rewire the brain -- all set across multiple timeframes and couched in the dying embers of empire. The vision of the bakelite robot servants still lingers with me and the book is heaving with strange mechanical contraptions.
This is a phenomenal piece of work with a vast scope and it never feels engineered or contrived -- you are left with the sense that this world, this forest really exists somewhere and can be reached, if only you could remember where it is...
Brian Catling’s 500-page novel takes us inside the city and the forest via various sets of characters: the real-life surrealist poet Raymond Roussel; a flighty young woman called Ghertrude Eloise Tulp; a Cyclops raised in a cellar by robots made of Bakelite; an army officer named Williams who carries a bow made of human flesh and who is on some kind of mystical journey; Tsungali, an assassin hunting Williams. A semi-imagined life story of the photographer Edward Muybridge is also chopped up and thrown into the narrative soup.
It’s a work of rich, perhaps over-rich, imagination, often reading like a version of ‘Locus Solus’, Roussel’s ignored novel about an inventor’s country estate and his bizarre machines. There are a huge number of fascinating ideas running through it; unsurprisingly, given Catling’s main vocation as an artist, sight and perception are the dominant leitmotifs.
It’s not much of a novel, to be honest. Too many of its mysteries are never explained. The narratives and themes don’t cohere.Read more ›
Of course, due to the supernatural themes and the slight eccentricities of some of the characters, it will inevitably go down as a Fantasy novel. This isn't entirely wrong, nor is it a black mark against the book, indeed, it's a genre that hold some weight. 'The Vorrh' is, however, a new breed of Fantasy. Catling creates a world of wonder and imbues it with Cormac McCarthy-esque violence and a tension that is entirely it's own. Again, it is simply 'The Vorrh'.
I enjoyed the book greatly, from the richness of the language to the idiosyncrasies of the alternate world that had been created. There were times I feared that there were a few too many characters, but, as I read on, I realised just how necessary they all were. There were a few characters I would have liked to have seen slightly more of, but, again I soon realised, that that would have ruined the mystery surrounding them.
Put simply, 'The Vorrh' is a book that is hard to define owing mainly to its stark originality. If you're looking for a book where the language is rich and the storytelling is masterful, look no further. And, in this world where there are a few too many shades of grey, who isn't looking for that?
It is from Roussel's novel Impressions of Africa that the Vorrh takes its name. Brian Catling's Vorrh is a vast, unmapped territory with not easily defined forms of existence and irreversible effects to whoever goes too deep or stays inside for too long. All the themes of the coloniser and colonised are revisited but in a new way, one of an author that has been exposed to and digested postcolonial rhetorics; this has a very interesting effect that feels at the same time recognisable and entirely new.
The Vorrh is also a metaphor for the savage, for the woman and the unknown. But most importantly it is a metaphor for reading. It is dense and intense and it will have an irrevocable effect on the reader, same as the forest has to those who dare enter its core. I cannot recommend it enough.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
“Walking into the night, he was in control of his world. He would shape it with the gods and demons into an understanding of forces, each with its own price, marked in blood. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Samantha mott
Genius literary fantasy novel that manages to make strange story logic out of surreal locations and a cast of fantastical and historical characters. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jerold C
Came to this via the usual suspects (plaudits from Alan Moore/Iain Sinclair) but hands down this was the worst read I had in 2016 ( and believe me I get through a lot of books). Read morePublished 3 months ago by P. Fitzpatrick
Enjoyed it. I wouldn't call it a "must read", but maybe because I'm not much of a reader of fantasy. What I found most interesting was his poetic style of writing.Published 4 months ago by Joaquim
A few general points to start with:
1. This is the first book in a trilogy, so if you have made it to the end and wonder why there are a number of loose ends do not... Read more
I'm not one to give up on books usually, but I have to admit that I gave up on this after about 120 pages or so. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Tony Marshall
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