Europe & USA $55 USD Rest of World $55 USD
MAD MATINÉE IN BAKU (Passport Levant)
by Albert Power
Publication Date: November 2010
Details about the book: large landscape format, sewn hardcover with dust-jacket printed on textured cardboard paper, cloth boards, gold folio, silk ribbon, end papers and full-color frontispiece.
In June 1962 an unusual novelty arrives in Baku. This is the roving troupe of Pan Soviet Players from Moscow, their aim to stage a performance of the obscure eighteenth-century play, The Mysterious Mother by Horace Walpole. Among this curious crew of actors, leading lady Petrina Yurebian carries a terrible secret from her girlhood years in the strife-torn enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. With her is her thirteen-year-old daughter, Marinitsa, a child of outstanding loveliness who draws lustful eyes from the arts interlocutor of the Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet, Alim Ibrahim. He too bears a past from the ravages of Nagorno-Karabakh, a past that reaches further back still – to the opposite side of the continent of Europe.
While a mad matinée is performed in Baku, in which simulacra of dead authors intrude, innocent Marinitsa and oleaginous Alim embark on a tour through the city: a tour that Alim intends will culminate in a gorgeously upholstered cellar beneath the warren of interlocking streets that is Icheri Shähär – the castellated ancient city of the caravanserais of the khans.
Out of the peril which yawns before Marinitsa comes spiritual reclamation at a price. Forty-eight years further on, the aged representative of a religious community in Ireland journeys to Baku in quest of Petrina Yurebian, who has since died. His mission to follow the trail of a predatory renegade from the order who had fled in the 1940s. The fleer had been Liam O Briain but the same man was known to have been known to the Pan Soviet Players as Alim Ibrahim of Baku. Instead of Petrina, the elderly brother meets Marinitsa, now sixty-one years old, and alone, from whom he learns the terrible tale of the blight of her life and of her mother’s life: a tale that conceals, like a sleek spider at its heart, a treacherous lecherous interlocutor – named Alim Ibrahim.
Mad Matinée in Baku is a somber chef-d'ouvre who defies any sort of categorization, written by an absolute master of style and aestheticism.
Albert Power is an enthusiast of the gothic and of the cultural traditions (mainly musical) of continental Europe. In his writings the ethereal and the aesthetic blend in a rich brew that evokes the perpetual question of humankind’s spiritual fate. His story “Pocátek Románu: A Flutter of Lorn Love” appeared in Cinnabar’s Gnosis, published by Ex Occidente Press in 2009, and his collection, Darling Savishna and Other Stories, is awaited from Ex Occidente Press early in 2011. He has also written for Tartarus Press’s Wormwood.
Mad Matinée in Baku is a sewn hardcover book of 111 pages with dust-jacket, silk ribbon, endpapers and a full-colour frontispiece. Edition limited to only 100 hand numbered copies. $55 inc. p&p; to Europe and USA, $55 to the rest of the world. This is a collector's edition.
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