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Twisted Spoon Press

PO Box 21 - Preslova 12, 150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic

Book details:
Illuminated Burrow


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More about Blecher
and his work here

forthcoming :
Transparent Body
& Other Texts

also by the author:
Adventures in
Immediate Irreality

Scarred Hearts

  the illuminated burrow
A Sanatorium Journal

by Max Blecher

translated from the Romanian by Gabi Reigh

afterword by Gabriela Glăvan

Max Blecher began writing The Illuminated Burrow in 1937 and continued working on it until his death the following spring, but its full version was only published posthumously in 1971. It was the final “novel” in what can be called a trilogy that includes Adventures in Immediate Irreality and Scarred Hearts, and like those, it is composed in the vein of the Surrealist autofiction reminiscent of the work of André Breton and Michael Leiris. Set in the sanatoria where Blecher received treatment for spinal tuberculosis, the ostensible narrator is forced to confront the power and limitations of memory as he attempts to capture a dying man's last moments of life as they pass “like ash ... through a sieve,” one final effort to rescue the beauty of days spent straddling the boundary between waking and dreaming, encountering the marvelous both inside and outside the sanatorium's walls, wandering deserted gardens, or experiencing transient yet affecting connections with fellow patients. As his physical powers decline and he is permanently confined to a bed, the narrator’s life migrates to his inner consciousness, an “illuminated burrow” where reality is indistinguishable from fantasy, where the surreal and the mundane seamlessly fuse to enact the fears and fascinations elicited by the vibrant world that is gradually slipping away.

Blecher explained the method he aspired to in a letter to
Saşa Pană:
My ideal of writing would be to transpose into literature the high tension found in a Salvador Dalí painting. That cool dementia, perfectly legible and essential, is what I would like to achieve. Explosions that occur between the walls of the room and not at a distance between chimerical and abstract continents. ... Surrealism should hurt like a deep wound.


The imagination is nothing more than an extension of matter.

— Roger Caillois


ISBN 9788086264585
166 pp., 135 x 190 mm
hardcover with ribbon bookmark
2 color plates
illustrated endpapers
literature : novel

release dates:
UK/Europe: October 2022
US/Canada: November 2022

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airmail shipping & handling incl.
will post in September

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