French and Québécois online reviews, part three

“It’s therefore a novel about the saving power of the imagination… an imagination that constitutes an abyss into which you must throw yourself in order to survive… Every paragraph is like the pitch for a tale that Kafka or Burroughs could have written, a dream forever mutating into nightmare.”

— Pierre, “Dans le style du napalm”

Mauvaise Chimie >

La maison des épreuves is a book that obliges readers to leave their passivity, a sometimes disturbing book with a complicated construction. That being said, Jason Hrivnak’s first novel has something obsessive about it… One musn’t just read La maison des épreuves, one must take total possession of it.

— Anaïs Orieul, “10 livres à lire absolument en attendant le printemps”

Terrafemina >

“We’re plunged without cease into situations that are unsound, discomfiting, designed, we understand in the end, to put a name to pain, to put a name to that which should not be… Expect to have plenty of dreams at night in which Hrivnak’s words rock you to sleep…”

— Elizabeth Lord, “La Maison des épreuves de Jason Hrivnak: un beau cauchemar”

Les Méconnus >

La maison des épreuves is a book of the dead for the use of the living, the gaze of Orpheus toward a suicidal Eurydice… A masterpiece of literary game-craft.”

— Lucien Raphmaj, “Et Fiona avec vous au labyrinthe descendue…”

Latérature >

More French bloggers on La Maison des Épreuves

“Labyrinth, monument, Pandora’s box… La Maison des Épreuves, Jason Hrivnak’s first novel… is, beneath its somber and depressed appearance, a beautiful response to the death drive and a stimulating ode to existence.”

— Eric Darsan, “La Maison des Épreuves, Jason Hrivnak”

Eric Darsan >

La Maison des Épreuves never ceases to surprise, accumulating puzzles, incantations and scenes of remarkable visual power, its gaze as much upon Poe, Burton and Lovecraft as upon the grammar of the most twisted horror films.”

— Cyril Tavan, “La Maison des Épreuves de Jason Hrivnak”

Les Carnets du Pr. Platypus >

“Translated by Claro, La Maison des Épreuves is an astonishing, disconcerting book in which the passion for death and failure appear much stronger and more singular than the search for happiness, as if consolation could only be derived from the products of sorrow.”

— Fabien Ribery, “Debout, au milieu du désastre”

Le blog de Fabien Ribery >

La Maison des Épreuves is a literary curiosity… We exit intrigued and at the same time marked by this difficult and fascinating reading experience, perplexed by our own feelings, as at the end of a disturbing and absurd dream.”

— Anne, “La Maison des Épreuves de Jason Hrivnak”

Textualités >

More booksellers on La Maison des Épreuves

“A text that will haunt you like your own nightmares… A gothic tale, chilling in its treatment of the anguish and suffering that sublimate the beauty of our darkness.”

— Élodie, Gibert Joseph Barbès (Paris)

“Lovers of sick books, pounce on La Maison des Épreuves. Massive shock!

— Librairie Mollat (Bordeaux)

“This coming-of-age-gothic-multiple-choice-meta-survival-game (you can breathe now) is a UFO in this January’s literary releases. Once immersed in this book you will find yourself an integral part of it, a spectator/actor and not a voyeur. A shocking novel that pulsates and absorbs you… literally. ‘It is aliiiive!’”

— Roxane, La Librairie du Tramway (Lyon)

French booksellers on La Maison des Épreuves

“The narrative of this work is completely original, it made me think of “books in which you yourself are the hero”, but where that hero has been led astray into a labyrinth of possible worlds, of stories from the mind of a malefic Borges… This book is absolutely an experience to be lived.”

— Aurélie Janssens, Page et Plume (Limoges)

“At once a manual for surviving in a hostile world, a role-playing game for twisted misanthropes, a eulogy for a lost time, and a search for redemption: a novel from beyond the pale that truly has everything required to become a cult book.”

— Pierre Barrault, Librairie La Belle Lurette (Paris)

“You finish this book the way you open your eyes at the end of an agitated sleep: a little dazed and troubled, with the certainty of having read a strange and poignant work that is just as inventive as it is destabilizing.”

— Philippe Guazzo, Le Comptoir des Mots (Paris)

“Poetic, staggering, transgressive, electrifying. A vibrant book that will not leave you unscathed.”

— Céline, Librairie Prado Paradis (Marseille)

French bloggers on La Maison des Épreuves

“It is a book that opens paths, that deploys a range of imaginings crafted with very great virtuosity. And which, at the same time, has this power, a kind of harrowing intimate resonance, the experience of which you have no choice but to accept.”

— NIKOLA DELESCLUSE, Paludes radio show

Paludes >

La Maison des Épreuves cuts a torturous path in a form that is new, surprising, destabilizing… The game is dangerous: we leave it troubled — or rather, awakened… It is one of the most poetic and striking publications (from Éditions de l’Ogre) and must be read at any cost.”

— LOU DARSAN, Lou et les feuilles volantes

Lou et les feuilles volantes >

“Jason Hrivnak proves that there can be rightness in the extreme, tenderness in the darkness of the soul, and beauty in horror… La Maison des Épreuves is at once a work of magic and a tour de force.”

— HÉLOÏSE, Un Dernier Livre Avant la Fin du Monde

Un Dernier Livre Avant la Fin du Monde >

“This work, beyond the adventurous spirit that seizes us in reading it, is truly an anti-suicide manual and a guide for reenchantment with the world… Personally, if (Hrivnak) is able to repeat such a miracle, staggering in its intelligence and playful subtlety, then I for one would want it, and soon.”

— HUGUES ROBERT, Librairie Charybde (Paris)

Librairie Charybde blog >

National press coverage in France

“The embryonic narratives formed into black and venomous little tales, recalling those of Edgar Poe… Like all new works, it does not subscribe to a genre but creates one if its own, a form never before seen, a precedent, perhaps, in the history of literature and it therefore seems necessary to me that it exists, that it can be read, even imitated.”

— Alice Zéniter, “Traduire, dit-elle”

Le Monde (paywall) >

“The first ordeal in this House is the act of reading. It presents us with a deforming (or true) mirror that reflects what we are determined not to see. But this atmosphere, which comes from Sade, from Kafka, from the great gothic and surrealist novels, engages us from the very start.”

— Alain Nicolas, “Quel cauchemar êtes-vous?”

l’Humanité >

“There is something astonishing in La Maison des Épreuves.”

— Mathieu Lindon, “Jeux Pernicieux Inc.”

Libération >

French edition now available

La Maison des Épreuves, a French translation of The Plight House, is now available from Éditions de l’Ogre. L’Ogre publishes both original works and works in translation, its mission being to present writing that “undermines our sense of reality”.

Claro, the translator, is a founding member of the inculte collective and has published more than twenty books of his own fiction. His extensive list of translations includes works by Dennis Cooper, Brian Evenson, William T. Vollmann, Chuck Palahniuk, and, forthcoming, Alan Moore’s Jerusalem.

Éditions de l’Ogre >

couv9570843

Excerpt from new novel in Monkey Business 6

Monkey Business International is the in-translation offspring of the Tokyo-based quarterly Monkey Business. It features work by both emerging and established Japanese authors, as well contemporary English-language writing. Volume 6 includes new translations of Hideo Furukawa, Mieko Kawakami, and Yoko Ogawa, plus contributions from Steve Erickson and Kelly Link.

The novel Dysphoria is about a young man’s experience of auditory hallucination, voices informing him that his descent into mental illness is part of a sinister training program. The excerpt in Monkey Business 6 is titled “The Novice.”

Monkey Business Vol. 6 >