Reviewed by Matthew Johns
Receiving a book from Tartarus Press always feels like a special occasion â€“ you can feel the quality of these beautifully bound books with ribbon book mark.Â Their simple yet stylish dust covers hide previously unknown delights and treasures.
This particular one is a collection of translated tales from the pen of Marcel Schwob, written between the late 1800â€™s and early 1900â€™s in French.Â It begins with a lengthy, but fascinating introduction from the translator, Iain White, which details Schwobâ€™s life and influences and then launches into a tale of the Strigae, or vampires. Some are told as parables, such as â€œThe Fat Manâ€, in which a happy, but very fat man lets a very skinny doctor live with him who terrifies him with tales of diabetes into giving up all his earthly delights and instead feeding them to the doctor, who doesnâ€™t stay skinny for long.
Many of these tales are ageless, and while the old-fashioned language may be seen as a barrier to some, it is worth soldiering on through the book to enjoy some very Poe-esque tales.