A dense spiraling whirlwind of a book, Lote manages to simultaneously challenge, delight, and transfix.
Grappling with history and identity, this is the first novel published by Duke University Press in years and, the further under its spell you fall, the more you understand why they were unable to resist it.
Solitary Mathilda has long harbored a conflicted enchantment bordering on rapture with the "Bright Young Things," the Bloomsbury Group, and their contemporaries of the '20s and '30s, and throughout her life her attempts at reinvention have mirrored their extravagance and artfulness. After discovering a photograph of the forgotten Black modernist poet Hermia Druitt, who ran in the same circles as the Bright Young Things, Mathilda becomes transfixed and resolves to learn as much as she can about the mysterious figure. Her search brings her to a peculiar artists' residency in Dun, a small European town in which Hermia was known to have lived during the '30s. The artists' residency throws her deeper into a lattice of secrets and secret societies that takes hold of her aesthetic imagination. From champagne theft and Black Modernisms to art sabotage, alchemy, and a lotus-eating proto-luxury communist cult, Mathilda's "Escapes" through modes of aesthetic expression lead her to question the convoluted ways truth is made and obscured.
About the Author
Shola von Reinhold is a writer born and based in Glasgow.
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