Monday, 23 August 2010

D B C Pierre and J K Huysmans: Do Initials Make You A Hedonist?

D B C Pierre's new, manic, Huysmanic novel of decadence, Lights Out in Wonderland, is a catalogue of horrors and hedonism. I've reviewed it in the Daily Telegraph: click HERE to see it.

Against Nature (Penguin Classics) by J K Huysmans was a book I read when I was probably too young to understand it. I was thirteen, in my last year at prep school, and I'd just read The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Classics). In it the hero is mightily affected by a nameless book; after some careful and dogged research, I unearthed it. I remember being dizzied by it; I haven't read it since, but some scenes from it stay with me even now: an English pub full of red-faced porcine boozers; the famous jewelled tortoise; the black supper. It was all good training, of course, for a writer of fantasy literature...

So is it any coincidence that D B C Pierre and J K Huysmans both use initials? Or that Huysmans shares the very same initials as J K Rowling? Joris Karl morphs very easily into Joanne Kathleen... Perhaps the latter is an incarnation of the high priest of decadence: or maybe J K R is an immortal, Huysmans expanded through the centuries.

Think about it: is there anything more hedonistic or truly expressive of decadence than a wizard? Pierre, in his novel, refers to hedonists as 'wizards'. I think something is afoot here. Perhaps Rowling's next novel will see Potter tire of wizarding life and retreat into a world of cloistered walls, jewels, magic beasts and perfumes. Or hang on, that's what he's doing anyway... Stand forth, J K, and reveal yourself! The world awaits.

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