“The Imagination Thief” (novel)

“Rohan Quine is one of the most original voices in the literary world today—and one of the most brilliant.” —Guardian Books blogger Dan Holloway

The five tales whose covers you see above (one novel and four novellas) are illegal, immoral and fattening. They’re joyfully dark and wayward, and they’re no proper reading for the innocent of mind or the fragile of ears, being the written equivalent of a five-layered chocolate cake containing an entire bottle of Wray & Nephew over-proof rum (63% alcohol by volume) and a cocktail of controlled substances. Category-wise, you could call them literary fiction with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror.

Our mission was simple, this quintet commanded me: it was to push imagination and language towards their extremes, in order to explore and illuminate the beauty, horror and mirth of this predicament called life, where we all seem to have been dropped without sufficient consultation ahead of time. More specifically, our mission was a three-pronged one (each prong being a long prong, but no longer than the other two): (1) to illuminate the world, to the best of our abilities, using language in new and old ways, and thereby leave the world infinitesimally better than it was before we did so; (2) to aim and attune our ears (all twelve of them) as clearly as possible to whatever our highest artistic potential is, then bring down the richest results from that place, then give those results the truest and most beautiful form we can create; and (3) to make an honest account of the darkness and pain in the world, while at the same time being a vote for life (maybe even an absolute blast of fun, along the way).

Some nice reviews in The Guardian and elsewhere can be seen here for the novel The Imagination Thief, and here for the four novellas The Platinum Raven, The Host in the Attic, Apricot Eyes and Hallucination in Hong Kong.

All five tales aim to celebrate the darkest and brightest possibilities of human imagination, personality and language. They share what is probably the same cast of main characters, but each tale also has other characters of its own. The five are all free-standing and may be read in any order, although one tale may occasionally contain an oblique passing reference to something that happened in another. Those brief references are no more instructive than the faint sounds that sometimes reach us through doorless walls between city apartment-buildings—sounds from adjacent living-spaces that we’ll never see or know about, though our own living-space may for many years be separated from them by a mere two feet of masonry.

It happens that the purest chronology of the five stories’ events would be the order in which I’ve just listed their titles above (though The Host in the Attic is something of a wild card in any such chronology)—but again, they may in fact be read in any order, so feel free to plump for a novella first, if a novella should tickle your fancy.

For more juice and sugar about the four novellas, see their individual menus above. For the novel The Imagination Thief, the following is the skinny on the street…

The Imagination Thief is about a web of secrets, triggered by the stealing and copying of people’s imaginations and memories. It’s about the magic that can be conjured up by images of people, in imagination or on film; the split between beauty and happiness in the world; and the allure of various kinds of power. It celebrates some of the most extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and language, exploring the darkest and brightest flavours of beauty living in our minds.

Retail links for the novel’s paperback format are listed here. And here are the retail links for its e-book format (whose text includes optional hyperlinks to films and a video-book version and an audio-book version, as you can see in the above menu named “V-Book & Films”).

READ MORE, i.e.: (1) What’s it all about, in a nutshell; (2) But what will the Gentle Reader get from reading it?; (3) Why did I write it?; (4) What messages does it convey?; and other unmissable treats…

 

 

Rohan Quine

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