Archive for the ‘Other Writers’ Category

Saint of the City by David Noone

May 7, 2021

A review by R J Dent

Even though David Noone’s novella, Saint of the City, is set firmly in Dublin and is narrated by Dublin-born Sean Aloysius Ignatius Connolly, there is a decidedly French decadent sensibility at work in this novella; a novella that is part noir thriller and part fictionalised autobiography.

As to what gives it its decidedly French ambience, it may be the sex: ‘She rose and fell violently onto my prick as the beginnings of a lupine scream escaped her mouth eventually filling the room at its crescendo. I came like a machine gun inside her as she continued on to her own climax, dragging her nails down the side of her face as she did so.’

It might be the death: ‘Getting myself a knife. Finding the bastard and slitting his fucking throat. One more dead scumbag wouldn’t bother the cops.’

Or it may be the booze: ‘I’d seen it a thousand times and wondered how I could have spent six years drinking two bottles of wine a day and still manage to have ten times the brain they had.’

Or perhaps it’s the rock and roll: ‘The Velvets’… ‘Nine Inch Nails, Type O Negative… When I looked at the younger clientele I wondered how many of them had any idea who Diamanda Galas was. Or The Birthday Party. Or Lydia Lunch. Bauhaus had brought androgyny back to the fore, taking their cue from Bowie and Roxy Music. These kids looked like they were more into Motorhead and Metallica than T. Rex.’

It could even be the authors: ‘Houellebecq, Camus, Kafka’… ‘Sylvia Plath’… ‘de Sade’, because as everyone knows, especially Sean Aloysius Ignatius Connolly, the French value writers – their own and those ‘others’.

What is more likely is that the distinctly French sensibility which permeates David Noone’s incisive and insightful Saint of the City is due to a combination of all of the above-mentioned ingredients, along with ‘a charming psycho’, of a narrator who’s more than happy to recount his current life anecdotes with a tone of unflinching honesty and unrepentant black humour. If Baudelaire had written a crime novella, Saint of the City would be that book.

Saint of the City is a serious, darkly comic work of fiction, and is well-worth reading – more than once.

Product Details:

Title: Saint of the City

Author: David Noone

ISBN: 978-0-244-31325-8

Publisher: Murder Slim Press

Pages: 107

Language: English

David Noone’s Saint of the City, published by Murder Slim Press is available here:

David Noone’s Goodreads author profile is available here:


And details of David Noone’s work can be found at:

paralysis gestures by Michael McAloran

May 5, 2021

A review by R J Dent

Michael McAloran’s paralysis gestures could be a book of lyrics by David Bowie; it could be a cut-up novel based on texts by William S. Burroughs and/or by Samuel Beckett.

‘… take up thy bones & rot…’ says the novel’s narrator, in the midst of a series of urgent missives from the future to an often inattentive present.

paralysis gestures, in its form, in its content, and in its minimalist style, is a novel of mordant epigrams.

…failure in suicide is also one of the greatest of shames…’ says the Shakespeare-parodying narrator on page 40. The pages of paralysis gestures are filled with prayers for the living or curses for the dead, and often both simultaneously.

And those words, which could have been taken directly from Scott Walker’s great unwritten novel, also tell us a great deal about Michael McAloran’s ongoing project with language, and how he has to mute the multiple meanings of words in order to extract one potent singular meaning. It’s a risky experiment, but in paralysis gestures, the experiment works and the language lives. And dies. And is resurrected.

Reading Michael McAloran’s paralysis gestures is a painful, but cathartic experience. It is the perfect twenty-first century novel.

The last words of this review are, perhaps fittingly, by the author of paralysis gestures:

‘…dead zones no not a…nothing ever of…no not on…nothing next to follow…burns all the while in citrus flame…paralysis gestures &…breakage of what matter…’

paralysis gestures by Michael McAloran is published by Oneiros Books and is available here:

Michael McAloran is a poet and novelist. Details of his works are available here:

R J Dent is a poet, novelist and translator. Details of his works are available here:

A promo book trailer for The Dead Man by Georges Bataille

November 23, 2020
Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man – translated into modern English by R J Dent

Ritual of Filth: Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man (Translated into English by R J Dent) – a review by Tom Bland

June 22, 2020



by Tom Bland


RJ Dent’s masterful translation of Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man opens the work to the English speaking world. The work is essentially about the explosive lust that arises from grief: it may seem alien to connect the two, but psychoanalysis has often proposed a correlation between eroticism and mourning. I once read a case-study of a woman who masturbated for two days after she lost her father, which made me think of Bataille’s My Mother, where the main character masturbates while standing over the corpse of his mother in the funeral parlour.

In the opening of The Dead Man:

When Edouard fell back back dead, a vast emptiness opened up inside Marie. A prolonged shudder went through her, and lifted her up like an angel.

Marie seduces a rich Dwarf (with the title of Count) entangling him in the sexuality that erupts out of the “shudder”:

What Marie saw in the Dwarf’s eyes was the insistence of death.

On unsteady legs, she trembled.

Staring at the [Dwarf], she backed away.

Without warning, she vomited.

She looked at the pool of vomit in front of her.

Her torn and ripped coat was barely covering her body.

The book becomes more extreme as Marie’s world falls apart. As her life twists out of shape so does her libido, as the loss manifests as pure unadulterated desire like the cocaine only Kate Moss or Quentin Tarantino can afford. Marie needs to fuck but not the normal kind of fucking; her body explodes in the spontaneous acts of pissing, shitting, vomiting, which rip apart the confines of her life. The Dwarf has an erection throughout, and he is not the only one.

Marie went wild. She bared her teeth and bit down on the [Dwarf’s] cock, hard.

Pierrot dragged Marie off the [Dwarf]. He held her by the wrists, dragging her.

The [Dwarf] guided Pierrot’s cock into Marie…

Bataille describes everything in exquisite detail as if writing the notes for a case study he is going to submit to a psychoanalytic journal but he has yet to obscure the sexuality with technical terms such as the id, “the seething cauldron of excitation” [Freud].

“Stop staring at me,” Marie said, “or I’ll piss on you…”

She clambered onto the table and squatted.

“If you do, you’ll get me even more excited,” the [Dwarf] said.

Marie pissed on him.

The [Dwarf] received the stream of piss full in the face as Pierrot vigorously wanked his big cock.

RJ Dent’s translation of Bataille’s neglected work is superb and opens and lays bare the philosophical backbone of the work while remaining faithful to Bataille’s erotic story-telling. It is quite obvious that R J Dent is a poet and novelist himself by the way he opens up the intensity and the beauty of the language.

The Dead Man is published by Ragged Lion Press in a limited edition.

It is available at:

R J Dent’s books and information on current projects can be found at:

Tom Bland’s The Death of the Clown came out with Bad Betty Press in 2018, and his next book, Camp Fear, will be out in 2021. He trained in psychotherapy and dream analysis at SOPH/Middlesex University, and studied live art at UEL. He edits the online magazine, Spontaneous Poetics.

Ritual of Filth: A Review of Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man (translated into modern English by R J Dent) – by Tom Bland – June 2020


R J Dent’s translation of Georges Bataille’s Le Mort

May 16, 2020

Poet, novelist and translator R J Dent discusses aspects of his new translation of one of Georges Bataille’s neglected works:

“In my new English translation of Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man, there is a three-page afterword by Bataille, explaining the genesis of his story. In that afterword, Bataille writes of a plane crash he went to investigate:

‘I remember one day hearing an aeroplane whose engine was in trouble.

After a series of splutterings faded into the near distance, there was a heavy, percussive shock. I got on my bicycle and pedalled in the direction of the crash. It took me a while to find the crash site.

It was burning in the centre of a large apple orchard. Trees near to the plane had been scorched black. Three, maybe four, bodies flung from the wrecked plane, lay dead on the grass.

It was a German plane, probably shot down by an English fighter somewhere over the Seine Valley, which was only a short distance away from where I was staying, which was why it had managed to get to the orchard before crashing.

A dead German airman…’

Georges Bataille’s crashed plane anecdote wouldn’t be out of place in one of J.G. Ballard’s books; it has the same detached and dispassionate tone and style. It was clearly a defining moment for Bataille, and its depiction of the horror of violent death in the midst of everyday calm is the same tone (and the same theme) that infuses The Dead Man.”



The Dead Man

Author: Georges Bataille

Translator: R J Dent

Language: English

Pages: 36

Format: A5

Published May 2020

Price: £3.75


The Dead Man by Georges Bataille

Originally published in 1967 as Le Mort by Jean-Jacques Pauvert

Translated into English by R J Dent

Translation Copyright © R J Dent (2020)


Cover Art by Alexander Adams

Image © Alexander Adams


Published by Ragged Lion Press in an edition of 100 copies




Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man translated into modern English by R J Dent

May 9, 2020

R J Dent’s brand-new modern English translation of Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man, originally published in France in 1967, is now available in modern accessible English from Ragged Lion Press.



Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man, originally published as Le Mort, is the story of Marie, a woman who after witnessing the sudden death of her lover, Edouard, wanders naked and grieving through the night streets of a French town, sinking deeper and deeper into depravity as she seeks to escape the agony of loss…


R J Dent’s brand-new version of The Dead Man is the first twenty-first century modern English translation of Georges Bataille’s classic tale of devotion, depravity and damnation…



Product details:

Title: The Dead Man (Le Mort)

Author: Georges Bataille

Translator: R J Dent

Language: English

Pages: 36

Format: A5

Published May 2020

Price: £3.75


The Dead Man by Georges Bataille

Translated into English by R J Dent

Translation Copyright © R J Dent (2020)

Cover Art by Alexander Adams

Printed by Ragged Lion Press in an edition of 100 copies


Palmistry by Christopher Ringrose – a review

February 3, 2020


Microlives: A Compelling Collection of Flash Fiction Stories by Amanda Hodgson

December 1, 2019

A review by R J Dent


In her previous collection of short stories, Feed the Need, Amanda Hodgson looked unflinchingly at eating, food, digestion and consumption in all of its various permutations.

Microlives, subtitled, A Compelling Collection of Flash Fiction Stories is exactly what it says it is; a very compelling, and a very contemporary, collection of flash fictions about people linked by a specific location. And in Microlives, Amanda Hodgson shows us around a small block of flats in an unnamed city and introduces us to a range of characters, all going about their lives, trying to cope, trying to live, trying to survive, all trying to find tiny slices of joy in their hard existences.

As Amanda Hodgson warns: ‘Ria is tired. Pat is praying. Liam likes feet and Billy likes films. Microlives takes the reader to a small block of flats to hear the voices within. Find out why Claire is screaming and Join Della as she revisits her past.’

And we, as readers, do find out, although Amanda Hodgson offers no easy or pat solutions to the myriad problems life throws at her characters, with several of them unable to achieve any real sort of redemption at all.

The stories in Microlives are realistic, but they are most definitely not from the George Eliot or Thomas Hardy school of realism. Amanda Hodgson’s prose, influenced as it is by Jenny Diski (The Vanishing Princess, Nothing Natural, The Dream Mistress) and J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey, The Catcher in the Rye), is more akin to J.G. Ballard (High-Rise, Concrete Island) with her iced-scalpel turn of phrase and her psychological insights.

The stories in Microlives reward close reading because they give us (as readers) a better understanding of certain human conditions, human needs, and minor, but nonetheless important, human achievements.

Product Details:
Title: Microlives: A Compelling Collection of Flash Fiction Stories
Author: Amanda Hodgson
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1207 KB
Published: August 2019
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Language: English

Microlives: A Compelling Collection of Flash Fiction Stories by Amanda Hodgson is available to buy here:


Rodney Matthews: Another Time, Another Place

April 11, 2019

R J Dent’s in-depth article about fantasy and science fiction artist, Rodney Matthews.



Jean Genet (1910-1986)

August 10, 2016

Jean Genet (19 December, 1910-15 April, 1986) was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist.


Early in his life he was a vagabond and petty criminal, but he later took to writing.

Throughout his five early novels, Genet works to subvert the traditional set of moral values of his assumed readership. He celebrates a beauty in evil, emphasizes his singularity, raises violent criminals to icons, and enjoys the specificity of gay gesture and coding and the depiction of scenes of brutality and betrayal.


By 1949, Genet had completed five novels, three plays, and numerous poems, many of them considered controversial for their explicit and often deliberately provocative portrayal of homosexuality and criminality.

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Our Lady of the Flowers (Notre Dame des Fleurs, 1943) is a journey through the prison underworld, featuring a fictionalized alter-ego by the name of Divine, usually referred to in the feminine, at the center of a circle of queens with colourful sobriquets such as Mimosa I, Mimosa II, First Communion and the Queen of Rumania.

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The Miracle of the Rose (Miracle de la rose, 1946) is a fictionalized autobiography which describes Genet’s time in Mettray Penal Colony.

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The Thief’s Journal (Journal du voleur, 1949) is also a fictionalized autobiography and it describes Genet’s experiences as a vagabond and prostitute, as he wanders across Europe.

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Querelle of Brest (Querelle de Brest, 1947) is the story of a murder set in the midst of the port town of Brest, where sailors treat life with brutal carelessness.

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Funeral Rites (Pompes funèbres, 1949) is a story of love and betrayal across political divides, inspired by the death of the narrator’s lover, Jean Decarnin, who was killed by the Germans during the Second World War.


Jean Genet’s plays present highly stylized depictions of ritualistic struggles between outcasts of various kinds and their oppressors. Social identities are parodied and shown to involve complex layering through manipulation of the dramatic fiction and its inherent potential for theatricality and role-play.

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In The Maids (1947), the eponymous maids imitate one another and their mistress.

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In Deathwatch (Haute Surveillance, 1947), three prisoners are locked up in the same cell. One is to be guillotined. Confinement traps each of them in solitude and immense unhappiness, which lends them a certain dignity.

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Splendid’s (1948) is a full-length drama, and

Her (Elle, 1955) is a one-act play.

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In The Balcony (1957), the clients of a brothel simulate roles of political power before, in a dramatic reversal, actually becoming those figures, all surrounded by mirrors that both reflect and conceal.

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In The Blacks (1959), Genet offers a critical dramatization of what Aimé Césaire called negritude, presenting a violent assertion of Black identity and anti-white virulence framed in terms of mask-wearing and roles adopted and discarded.

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The Screens (1961), Genet’s most overtly political play, is an epic account of the Algerian War of Independence.


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Genet wrote an essay on the work of the Swiss sculptor and artist Alberto Giacometti entitled The Studio of Alberto Giacometti (L’Atelier d’Alberto Giacometti, 1957).


It was highly praised by Giacometti himself and by Pablo Picasso. Genet wrote in an informal style, incorporating excerpts of conversations between himself and Giacometti.

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Prisoner of Love (Un Captif Amoureux, 1986) is a memoir of Genet’s encounters with Palestinian fighters and Black Panthers. In 1970, he had spent two years in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. Visiting Beirut in September 1982, Genet found himself in the midst of the Israeli invasion of the city. He was one of the first foreigners to enter Shatila refugee camp after the massacre of hundreds of its inhabitants.


Genet also wrote several poems.

  • “The Man Condemned to Death” (“Le Condamné à Mort”) (written in 1942, first published in 1945)
  • “Funeral March” (“Marche Funebre”) (1945)
  • “The Galley” (“La Galere”) (1945)
  • “A Song of Love” (“Un Chant d’Amour”) (1946)
  • “The Fisherman of the Suquet” (“Le Pecheur du Suquet”) (1948)
  • “The Parade” (“La Parade”) (1948)

These poems have been translated into English by Jeremy Reed and George Messo and published as Jean Genet: The Complete Poems.


Jean Genet developed throat cancer and was found dead on 15 April 1986, in a hotel room in Paris. He is buried in the Spanish Cemetery in Larache, Morocco.


ca. 1980-1997, Larache, Morocco --- Jean Genet's Grave on the Coast --- Image by © K.M. Westermann/CORBIS

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