Saturday, 2 June 2012

Zenith Lives

"Arrayed in full evening dress and habitually smoking his opium-laced cigarettes, Zenith repeatedly outwits the Police by doing what no sane man would dare. Such considerations as death have no influence on his conduct. What is life to him that he should fear to lose it ?

Yet, though an ambitious criminal,  the albino has a strict code of conduct. Zenith`s honour, which would allow him to steal or even, upon occasion, to kill, would not permit treachery. His word is his bond and so, strangely, there are times when he can be trusted."

Mark Hodder, Blakiana

"The way I look at it is that I want to read more stories featuring the life of Zenith and nobody else was publishing them."

Stuart Douglas, Obverse Books

Regular visitors to this blog will no doubt have noticed my distinct preference for post-war Blake stories.  Taken as a whole, the earlier Blake stories are just not my bag. Still I am not such a philistine as to assume there are no high points in the Blake saga pre-WW2. I`ve been impressed by the few works of Pierre Quiroule (W W Sayer) that I`ve read, and who could fail to be intrigued by the complex gothic anti-hero, Monsieur Zenith (Zenith the Albino) ?

We are fortunate that this enigmatic villain has not been consigned to the grave along with his creator (writer Anthony Skene if I recall correctly), but has in fact experienced a literary re-incarnation in a new collection of short stories from those nice people at Obverse Books, the aptly-named Zenith Lives.

A review of their book will be appearing on this blog very soon, but as it is already available, if anyone wants a copy and doesn`t feel the need to wait to see what I think about it (which would be entirely understandable), then it can be ordered from Obverse via their website.


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