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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  387 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
A manuscript stolen from a monastery, the ancient stone house of a sea-trading dynasty, which may be haunted. These are familiar ingredients for a Gothic novel, but something far more strange and disconcerting is taking place within the walls of Malpertuis as the relatives gather for the impending death of Uncle Cassave. The techniques of H. P. Lovecraft, when transplanted ...more
Paperback, Atlas Anti-classics, 171 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Atlas Press (GB) (first published 1943)
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Vit Babenco
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ancient pagan deities are not dead – they were captured and now live in hiding in the old dilapidated mansion named Malpertuis.
In order to create this gorgeous and flowery Gothic novel Jean Ray lavishly used mythology and mysticism so the atmosphere of the novel is intriguingly enigmatic and its artfully macabre aura is quite enchanting. And although the plot is pretty linear – ostensibly the story is compiled from the notes by different people – it is full of unexpected turns and twists.
“Men ar
Jul 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Liked the concept. The frame narratives were cool. The main story itself seemed a bit underdone. Certainly didn't merit the Lovecraft comparisons in terms of creepiness. The main character JJ was so bland it was hard to care or, more importantly, buy that he motivated the events that moved around him. And I have a peev about characters just walking out of the story -- I was expecting more from/about Nancy, especially. I was just expecting something more brilliant and experimental, but this was e ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was written in 1943 by "Jean Ray" the best-known pseudonym among the many used by Raymundus Joannes de Kremer (8 July 1887 – 17 September 1964). The book was originally written in French and this edition was translated by Iain White and published in England. According to the introduction (written by White) this is "Jean Ray's" only full length novel, what a shame. Mr. White compares Ray to H. P. Lovecraft, but I don't see the comparison. This book is much much more enticing and moody.

Nate D
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: light(er) reading for surrealists
Recommended to Nate D by: Drawn back to the doomed house
Extravagantly weird mid-century refitting of gothic dread around an eerie house and cast of odd characters vaguely competing for an inheritance. Unlike the somewhat messy film version, this succeeds in maintaining mood and intrigue, and gradually unspooling its sublimely unforeseeable plot (punctuated with audacious scenes of unexpected action) for the full length. Others have noted that it's basically a pulp story (a bit haunted house and a bit And Then There Were None), but again, a singularly ...more
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't even begin to describe how much I adored this mysterious and inscrutable tale of tenebrous and awe-inspiring gloom. I saw the film about a year ago, and it left its mark on my soul, but I still was not prepared for the greatness that was this book, which was quite different from the film, from what I recall. Perhaps I shall find it in me to write a review at some point that will do Malpertuis justice, but at this point I think I just need to let the feelings it stirred within me percolat ...more
Randolph Carter
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, fiction, fantasy, owned
An astonishing post-modern Gothic novel that has to be read more than once, seriously, to be understood and appreciated. When I say you must re-read it, you must; you will simply not "get" it all if you don't.

Brush-up on your Bullfinch too.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I didn't have any idea what to expect before reading this but did so solely on the basis of a recommendation from someone whose judgement I trusted and I knew nothing about it or the author. But what a pleasant surprise it was.

It was quite a complex narrative structure, with four embedded narratives within the main one, and a big cast of characters that took time for me to get my head around but once I had settled in, this book was a pleasure to read. Gothic prose, macabre similes, a creepy atmo
Orrin Grey
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jean Ray, where have you been all my life? Malpertuis is a complex and at times confusing novel, but it's also a fantastic one, full of exactly the kind of stuff that I love in my weird fiction, as well as the kind of stuff that I love in my Gothic fiction. The ultimate solution to the mystery is obvious, but somehow getting there never feels like it is, and the whole production has such an ominous, almost apocalyptic quality that everything is carried along with a kind of breathless urgency.
Men are not born of the whim or will of the gods. On the contrary, gods owe their existence to the belief of men. Should this belief wither, the gods will die.

Quando dicono che questo è un romanzo straordinario lo si deve intendere in senso letterale: è fuori dall'ordinario. È un romanzo WEIRD perciò è contemporaneamente fantasy, gotico e ironico. Fatica ad ingranare nelle pagine di Jiji (Jean-Jacques Grandsire), però il plot twist finale vale assolutamente la pena. Mi meraviglio che non ne abbi
Anna Prejanò
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gli scritti di Jean Ray me li sarei goduti molto di più se li avessi letti a vent’anni, perché ne avrei apprezzato incondizionatamente il lato fantastico e meraviglioso senza vederne i difetti, il principale dei quali è l’estrema artificiosità nella costruzione dell’intreccio, tipica anche dei racconti. Qui il classico espediente del manoscritto ritrovato serve a costruire una narrazione a più voci, che non corrispondono però a punti di vista realmente diversi e quindi non aggiungono né spessore ...more
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Literary Horror: May 2015 Monthly LH Read: Malpertuis 18 28 May 28, 2015 10:26AM  
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Raymundus Joannes de Kremer was a Flemish Belgian writer who used the pen names John Flanders and Jean Ray. He wrote both in Dutch and French.

He was born in Ghent, his father a minor port official, his mother the director of a girls' school. Ray was a fairly successful student but failed to complete his university studies, and from 1910 to 1919 he worked in clerical jobs in the city administration
More about Jean Ray...

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“L'affaire du couvent des Pères Blancs ne fut pas mauvaise.

J'aurais pu faire main basse sur bien des choses précieuses mais, pour être un indévot, je ne suis pas un incroyant et l'idée seule de m'emparer d'objets du culte, même s'ils sont d'or et d'argent massifs, m'emplit d'horreur.

Les bons moins pleureront leurs palimpsestes, incunables et antiphonaires disparus, mais ils loueront le Seigneur d'avoir détourné une main impie de leurs ciboires et de leurs ostensoirs.


La vente du buste du dieu Terme m'a rapporté une fortune...oui, une fortune.

Le quart m'a suffit pour racheter les parchemins, incunables et antiphonaires dérobés aux bons Pères Blancs.

Demain, je leur enverrai leur bien en leur demandant des priè non pour moi seul.

Mais j'ai gardé le mémoire.

Ils me doivent bien cela.”
“Tradition is a detestable peddler of errors, to which, alas, the Devil lends a long and tenacious life.” 0 likes
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