OBLIVION'S POPPY (Passport Levant)
by Colin Insole
Publication Date: September 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


It is 1952. At the Retreat in Wilflingen, bequeathed centuries ago by the Von Stauffenberg Knights, the residents, drawn inevitably and mysteriously to its shelter, hold their secrets and shame. Amongst them is the Englishman who plundered and beggared a family during the Austrian inflation: the German, whose loss of courage caused the 1944 July plot to fail and the student who betrayed the White Rose Movement.

But their comfortable residence in the spacious grounds, filled with the study of its flora and fauna, is not unconditional. Their work, in the Cave of Faces, the suffocating rose-garden or the vast archives of the dead, force them to recall and relive their actions. And guests have been invited - the lost and dispossessed of Europe - each brought by a fragment from their past, to tell their stories and confront their betrayers. For nearby, at the eighteenth century baroque former hunting-lodge of the Von Stauffenberg family, secret objects and documents have been uncovered. Amongst them, is the clue to a device at the Retreat, brought back long ago from the east, whose sacred and mystical properties have been forgotten for three centuries. The residents must now face their own perilous ordeal. Even the benign and learned leader of the Retreat, whose invitations have brought the guests to Wilflingen, must reveal his own terrible secret.

The genii loci of the Retreat - the sacred apple cultivar and its bees, the gentian and the elusive European lynx will contribute to their fate. Some will achieve redemption but others will pass into oblivion, to be remembered only in the Grey Ledgers in the melancholy Chapel of Lost Souls.

We should be very clear about this: Colin Insole is one of the very few genuine exceptional authors to emerge on the weird scene in the last years, if not in the last decade. To describe his labyrinthine stories, his masterly language, his arresting imagery and symbolism would be not only futile but also rather indelicate. Inspired by the figure and the writings of the great Titan and Anarch Ernst Jünger and especially by his recondite On the Marble Cliffs, Oblivion's Poppy is a breathtaking work of European decadent and weird literature. Certainly not for those who drink their wine with water.

Colin Insole is a writer and part-time lecturer who lives in Lymington on the South coast of England. He contributed ‘The Weimar Spider’ for the Gustav Meyrink anthology Cinnabar’s Gnosis and "The Princess of Phoenicia" for the Bulgakov anthology The Master in Cafe Morphine.

Oblivion's Poppy is a sewn hardcover book of 108 pages with dust-jacket, silk ribbon, endpapers and a full-colour frontispiece. Edition limited to only 100 hand numbered copies.

Other Ex Occidente Titles by Colin Insole

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