2017 Shirley Jackson Award nominee
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If you think today’s profiteers are diabolical, blink again…
It is the summer of 1914. As the world teeters on the brink of the Great War, a callow American painter, Francis Wyndham, arrives at a renowned European insane asylum, where he begins offering art therapy under the auspices of Alessandro Caligari—sinister psychiatrist, maniacal artist, alleged sorcerer.
Determined to turn the impending cataclysm to his financial advantage, Dr. Caligari will—for a price—allow governments to parade their troops past his masterpiece: a painting so mesmerizing it can incite entire regiments to rush headlong into battle.
As the doctor’s outrageous scheme becomes a reality, Francis joins with his brilliant, spider-obsessed student, Ilona Wessels, and a band of lunatic saboteurs to thwart the mercenary magic.
By radically reimagining the most famous of all German Expressionist silent films, satirist James Morrow has wrought a timely tale that is by turns funny and erotic, tender and bayonet-sharp—but ultimately The Asylum of Dr. Caligari emerges as a love letter to that mysterious, indispensible thing called art.
“Entrancing prose enhances the unusual plot of Morrow’s successful melding of history and fantasy.”
“This provocative novella is well worth a look.”
“James Morrow explores ideas with visionary audacity and a satirical (yet nonetheless disturbing) bent perhaps unequaled since Philip José Farmer’s Riverworld series—as if directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.”
—See the Elephant
“It’s a rich and wonderful mash-up of political satire, psychological fairytale and German Expressionist horror story … There’s a gorgeous edge to Morrow’s writing, a sense of fun and irreverence that never detracts from the dark jeopardy at the heart of the story. 10/10 stars.”
“[Morrow] is a crafty wordsmith who likes to hone in on poseurs and pretensions … Readers who are fond of wry esoteric musings will not be disappointed.”
“As is always the case with Morrow, he keeps the ride interesting and at times painfully funny.”
“A satirical, thought provoking, and stimulating novella.”
—New York Journal of Books
For more info on THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story