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Lavinia

Lavinia

Against Nature: A Rebours - Joris-Karl Huysmans Remember the little yellow book in The Picture of Dorian Gray? This is it. It's nothing but pure fin de siècle decadence, a symbolist piece of jewellery. It focuses solely on Jean Des Esseintes - the ultimate dandy - and his seclusion from the outside world, loathing anything that has to do with the common, the hoi polloi and indulging himself in intellectual and aesthetic pleasures - creating extravagant perfumes, furnishing his house (choosing the right colours for the walls takes him a few pages), setting gems into the shell of a living tortoise, planning a garden of poisonous exotic plants or arranging books in his library (his favourite painters and writers take tens of other pages).

As the title suggests it - "A Novel Without a Plot" - nothing much happens, so this might get the reader bored at times, but it's worthwhile reading it, by all means.