Chasm: A Weekend
By Dorothea Tanning
Chasm is the only novel by Dorothea Tanning, the famed surrealist artist, and was published when she was 93 years old.
A Surrealist novel in the vein of Angela Carter, about love and beauty and dark secrets.
Played out like the command of an oracle are the events that stain one night in the improbable setting of this desert tale. Rearing its impudent architecture like insult on a landscape of quiet beauty is Windcote, "its very name a masquerade," where inhabitants and guests find themselves driven by obsessions and confusions they have never faced before. Here doors open and close and open again. They hide, release, reveal, and ruin. In this web of tangled imperatives is the child, Destina, untouched by the fevers and failures around her. Her own world is outside in the mystery-locked canyon where, for the time of this story, she seems to find her own truth
Dorothea Tanning (1910 - 2012) was born in Galesburg, Illinois, and attended Knox College before moving to New York in the 1940s. There she began exhibiting at the Julien Levy Gallery, becoming known for her very personal and powerful surrealist paintings. In New York she met and married Max Ernst, moving with him to Arizona in the mid '40s, and then to France in the mid '50s. Two decades later, after Ernst's death, Tanning returned to New York, where she embarked upon a new and ambitious series of paintings, increasing both the scale and the scope of her work. Her work is included in collections at the Tate Gallery, the Georges Pompidou Centre, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Menil Collection, Houston. Tanning published her only novel, Chasm: A Weekend, when she was ninety-four. She also wrote a memoir and two collections of poetry.
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- Publication date:
31 Jan 2019
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Tanning's fictional debut unquestionably deserves to be recognised as a complete artistic success . . . Told in confident, fluid prose highlighted by passages of hallucinatory beauty. — Nicholas Royle, Guardian