Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans

Against Nature

byJoris-Karl Huysmans, Patrick McGuinness, Patrick McGuinness...

Kobo ebook | May 1, 2003

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The hero of this curious novel is des Esseintes, a neurasthenic aristocrat who has turned his back on the vulgarity of modern life and retreated to an isolated country villa. Here, accompanied only by a couple of silent servants, he pursues his obsessions with exotic flowers, rare gems, and complex perfumes and embarks on a series of increasingly strange aesthetic experiments, starting with the decision to give his giant pet tortoise a jewel-encrusted shell...

Title:Against NatureFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:May 1, 2003Publisher:Penguin Books LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:014190660X

ISBN - 13:9780141906607

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Decadent Book but Not Much in the Way of a Plot I started reading this book because of the speculation that it is the book that Dorian Gray, in Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray", is influenced by. If that is the case I can see why it would've been so influential as the main character lives an extremely decadent lifestyle. The text itself was written in such a way as to inspire the imagination, and the descriptions of the various luxuries involved were great. There were many experiences in which the main character describes his choices for certain things in such a splendid manner that it didn't matter that there wasn't much of a plot. For example, the way Des Esseintes chooses the colours in which to decorate his room, the way he picks gems to set on a tortoise's shell, the way he picks flowers through his descriptions of their resemblance to disease, and the way he identifies scents : these are done in such a marvellous way that the descriptions more than make up for the lack of dialogue. The story was interestingly contrasted with the main character suffering from his disease and how he lives so decadently despite the poor state his body is in. The scenes where beauty takes precedence are captivating, and where disease takes hold they become interesting plot-wise but bleak in regards to aesthetics. The prose is pleasant to read, and I can see a similarity with Oscar Wilde's book; I greatly enjoyed that book because of its aesthetic value and philosophical outlook, and this book was one of interest, as well (though, to me, not as good). Because of the lack of plot, this book doesn't seem to intrigue me as much since there is no reason to the obsession with beauty other than to be decadent (whereas with Dorian, it was to show his degeneration with regards to his soul). I did not learn much or feel particularly satisfied (aside from the beautiful descriptions of a hedonistic lifestyle) after putting this book down, but it was still a good and short read. I would've preferred more of a plot, but the writing partially makes up for the lack of dialogue and purpose. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-24