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About the author
Jean-Christophe Valtat was educated at the École Normale Supérieure and the Sorbonne. He is the author of three acclaimed books of literary fiction: Album, a collection of short stories, and the novels Exes and O3, the last of which was recently translated into English and published in the United States by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. Aurorarama is his first book written in English. Valtat also wrote and co-directed the movie, Augustine. He lives in Paris.
A seductive and shockingly inventive literary thriller that entwines suspense, history, the supernatural, adventure, steampunk, and a wicked sense of adventure into an intoxicating new genre.
EPISODE ONE IN AN ASTONISHING NEW SERIES
New Venice--the “pearl of the Arctic”--is a place of ice palaces and pneumatic tubes, of beautifully ornate sled-gondolas and elegant Victorian garb, of long nights and short days and endless vistas of crystalline ice. But as the city prepares for spring, it feels more like qarrtsiluni-- “the time when something is about to explode in the dark.”
Local “poletics” are wracked by tensions between the city’s security forces--the Subtle Army--and the Eskimos who were there first; by suffragette riots led by an underground music star; and by drug round-ups led by the ruthless secret police force known as the Gentlemen of the Night.
Meanwhile, a mysterious and ominous black airship hovers over the city like a supernatural threat--is New Venice about to come under assault, or is it another government ploy?
At the root of it all is an anonymous pamphlet calling for revolt, which the Gentlemen suspect was written by one of the city’s most prominent figures, Brentford Orsini. But as they tighten the net around him, Orsini receives a message from a long-lost love that compels him to radical action.
; August 2010
416 pages; ISBN 9781935554882Read online
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Author: Jean-Christophe Valtat
In the press
" ... the novel glides on silver skates from the surreal to the absurd to the languorously decadent ... Irresistible."
—Laura Miller, Salon
—Erik Morse, Bookforum
"Aurorarama is perhaps what Jules Verne would write if woken from the dead and offered a dose of mushrooms."
"[Aurorarama] entrances and delights. You could spend years picking apart the sly references and the particular myths, poems, novels and songs that inspired Valtat, or you can simply enjoy it for the experience. Valtat is making his American debut in a big way...with his remarkable enthusiasm and bravery, it's completely possible he'll conquer the world."
—Jessa Crispin, NPR's "Books We Like"
"Marvelous, perfect, and perfectly marvelous!... [Aurorarama] promises to attract discerning and sophisticated readers galore, those fans of the fantastical who are tired of second-hand visions and stale conceits....Valtat's novel is Little Nemo in Slumberland as retold by a trio of Jeff Noon, Steve Aylett and William Burroughs. I can hardly wait for its sequels."
—Paul Di Filippo, The Barnes and Noble Review
"A terrific storyteller, Valtat mixes humor and poetry, romance and politics into a surprisingly thoughtful page-turner about social revolution."
—Matthew Jakubowski, Paste Magazine
Praise for Jean-Christophe Valtat
"[Valtat] has a magical sense of shape, and a gift for lyrical prose that are rare in modern writing."
"Jean-Christophe Valtat is a writer of beautiful energy."