August 4, 2021

from HP Lovecraft to the 27 Club

A son disappeared in the middle of a war whose echoes still resonate in Europe; political intrigue, romance and luxury at the Russian court; the fascinating sense of animal orientation; a thriller that evidences the corruption of the penal system; the creator of the cosmic horror and the stars that went out too soon … know the books that Labyrinth recommended this week.

The 27 Club

For the rockers of 1960, reaching 30 years seemed like a prohibition. Several took up this idea and indulged in gradual self-destructive suicide, but it must be said that the pressure of being superstars also played an important role. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse are in attendance. Topping the list is Robert Johnson, the creator of modern blues, who would be the archetype of all.

The lost son

World War II continues to be a source of literary inspiration. In this novel (1949), the English writer, who also shone in cultural journalism, puts the soldier Hilary Wainwright in the difficult task of finding her son, who disappears at Christmas 1943. Her search leads her to France, evoked in a fantastic and at the same time terrifying way, a country that has not overcome its collaboration with the Nazis and that seems to be in an enormous lethargy.

The secret of Fabergé eggs

The historical preservation specialist draws a novel set at the dawn of the 20th century and in which political intrigue and romance are intertwined. The recreation of the court of Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia, contrasts with the miserable conditions in which the people live, fed up with misery and social injustice. An intrigue orchestrated from the Tsar’s palace itself, and using Fabergé eggs as a vehicle of information, ignites the plot.

count it

In a seedy hotel, a young man is murdered by a trans prostitute who has been arrested enough times to be in the crosshairs of the police. This is how this political and police thriller begins in which the intervention of a lawyer stands out, who has hidden her equally trans condition from family and friends. Between corrupt lawyers, death threats and the influence of a Republican senator, the plot exhibits the bias of the justice apparatus.

In the mountains of madness

For Borges, Lovecraft was an unwitting parodist of Poe, but his works are different. The Providence native’s fame has grown over time and his cosmic horror has now brought him closer to pop. This novel is presented as a geologist’s report on an expedition to Antarctica; in the mountains, they find the remains of extraterrestrial beings. Lovecraft explores the deepest human terrors. The translation is by the Cuban writer Calvert Casey.

The most incredible trips

This essay condenses a life devoted to the ancient art of navigation. Its author starts from the question “how do animals, including men, orient themselves and navigate?” It is possible, he says, to use a map or simply to be guided by intuition. The protagonists of this unique adventure adhere to these two techniques: the monarch butterfly, the bees, the American nutcracker, the desert ants, the colipint needle, the swallows, the turtles …