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Hugues Viane is a widower who has turned to the melancholy decaying city of Bruges as the ideal location in which to mourn his wife and as a backdrop for the narcissistic wanderings of his disturbed spirit He becomes obsessed with a young dancer “Upon the day following the funeral of the wife in wh

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Bruges la Morte

Hugues' dead wife as he follows its mournful labyrinth of streets and canals in a cyclical promenade of reflection and allusion the ultimate evocation of Rodenbach's lifelong love affair with the enduring mystery and mortuary atmosphere of Brug Funny how years later I can still picture that one pose Outside the Paint reflection and allusion the ultimate evocation of Rodenbach's lifelong love affair with the enduring mystery and mortuary atmosphere of Brug Funny how years later I can still picture that one pose

Georges Rodenbach è 3 review

Whom he believes is the double of his beloved wife leading him to psychological torment and humiliation culminating in a deranged murder This 1892 work is a poet's novel dense visionary and haunting Bruges the 'dead city' becomes a metaphor for Hugues Viane has retired to Bruges after the death of h Practical Prinkery retired to Bruges after the death of h


10 thoughts on “Bruges la Morte

  1. says:

    My real trip to Bruges took place when I got home after visiting the actual city when I gathered enough momentum to submit to Rodenbach’s pulsating testimony of the kind of beauty that can only be found in death like one can sense in certain places such as the somber cathedrals the towering belfries the pebbled alleys and greyish uays that compose the skeleton of Bruges once a decadent city brought back to life by the refined pen of a Symbolist’s contemplationHugues Viane is a disconsolate widower who has found a matchless companion in the lonely melancholy of Bruges a city whose glorious days of trade have waned into a suffocating atmosphere of religious conservatism Haunted by memories of his deceased wife Viane roams the streets of Bruges in silent conversation with its canals chiming bells and austere convents absorbed by his inexhaustible despair until he crosses paths with Jane a young actress who bears a strong resemblance with his beloved Spurred by his mysterious connection with the dormant city Viane indulges in a deranged fantasy that takes him into a downward spiral towards a climatic ending that explores the link between death conscience and grief Rodenbach’s evocation of Bruges is than an attempt to paint an accurate landscape for Hugues’ mourning but a deliberate effort to thread a perturbing analogy between the city and the states of mind of a man lost in the morbid eroticism of venerating a dead woman in a living corpse Bruges becomes the mute narrator and the ultimate protagonist of the story Hugues the mirror that refracts it to the reader and Jane a grotesue object disguised as femme fatale that gives a Gothic touch to the outcome of the novel Tragedy can already be anticipated in the opening paragraph but plotline is totally superfluous in this case It’s the stylistic delivery of foretold events merging with the internalized perceptions of its main character that makes this book a chilling but strangely delicate experience that creates the impression of a pagan ritual branded in darkly sensuous poetry that tempts and hypnotizes the reader leaving him helpless and levitating in suspended tension in the ache of pleasure momentarily achieved but never truly possessedI recently took a stroll around the medieval alleys of Bruges crossed its bridges and admired the uays over brimming with waves of tourists and pearly white swans but it was through Rodenbach’s aesthetic vision that I finally met the true soul of this town in all its withered splendor and somber beauty of past blending with present of introspective art fused with metaphorical precision


  2. says:

    I sometimes get the worrying feeling that nineteenth century men preferred their women to be dead than alive There is something archetypal about the repeated vision of the pale beautiful fragile utterly feminine corpse Beyond corruption a woman who's died is a woman you can safely worship without any danger that she'll ruin the image by doing something vulgar like using the wrong form of address to a bishop or blowing your best friend It's a vision that crops up everywhere in the works of these fin de siècle writers who were unhealthily obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe and with the figure of drowned Ophelia for them Millais than Shakespeare Bruges la Morte 1892 is the apotheosis of this kind of preoccupation As my introductory para suggests I find the general mindset a little problematic but this is certainly a beautifully written distillation of the theme Hugues Viane our melancholy hero settles in Bruges after the death of his wife and prepares to live out the rest of his days nursing his memories of her he dedicates a room of his house to her portraits and preserves a lock of her hair in a glass cabinetWhen he's not staring at her pictures he's out taking moody walks along the canalsWhere one day he sees a woman in the street who looks identical in every detail to his dead wife Is it a ghost? An appalling coincidence? His mind playing tricks on him?And might it be somehow possible to recreate his lost love?Viane is the main character; but drizzly grey Bruges is the real hero of the book The city is portrayed as the necessary complement to Viane's feelings of loneliness Une éuation mystérieuse s'établissait À l'épouse morte devait correspondre une ville morteA mysterious euation established itself To the dead wife there must correspond a dead townThe point is underlined by the inclusion of a number of black and white photographs of the city looking still and silent and often including unidentified figures A modern reader can't help seeing the effect as SebaldianBut anyway however interesting this early use of photography may be the real star is Rodenbach's prose He finds a thickly atrabilious style to fit his story rich in imagery full of strikingly depressive turns of phrase The city's canals are ‘cold arteries’ where ‘the great pulse of the sea has stopped beating’; the famous Tour des Halles ‘defends itself against the invading night with the gold shield of its sundial’; down below there are streetlamps ‘whose wounds bleed into the darkness’This must be what people mean when they talk about ‘prose poetry’ There are some paragraphs here that seem to be made up entirely of alexandrines And then just look at a phrase like this Les hautes tours dans leurs frocs de pierre partout allongent leur ombre There is a progression of vowels here that slides forward through the mouth beautifully ending with the wonderful dirge like assonance of allongent and ombre; and the consonants travel too from the silent h of haut back in the throat forward to the t of tours on to one lip with the f of frocs then both lips for the two chokengiischokengs and finally the lips are pushed right out for the last two nasal vowels Wowzer Translation something like ‘Everywhere the high towers in their stony habits stretch forth their shadow’Earlier this year I read Nerval's Les Filles du feu and I kept being reminded of it while I was reading Bruges la Morte There is exactly the same fascination with the ‘doubling’ of a love interest one woman becomes two or each taking on different attributes – one is blonde the other dark one is pure the other degraded one is a virgin the other is a whore and so on Some scenes some lines are almost identical Rodenbach must surely have been a Nerval fan He sums up the poetic essence of this tradition perfectly – indeed so perfectly that I found the formalities of plot resolution at the end of the book to be irritatingly drab and melodramatic by contrast I guess that's the problem with turning poetry into a novelNevertheless Bruges la Morte is obviously a high point of Symbolist writing a book that's obsessed with death and always alert to new ways to externalise deep emotions There is a brooding openness to the supernatural and a looming architectural presence which also has clear links with the Gothic But importantly it's just beautifully written every sentence drops balanced and gorgeous into your headFor best results it should be read at dusk preferably when it's raining outside Just make sure you have a brisk walk afterwardsOct 2013


  3. says:

    “Upon the day following the funeral of the wife in whom was bound up all his possibilities of happiness he had retired to Bruges as a fastness of melancholy and there succumbed to its fascination”The old Gothic town and the bereft widower are in the perfect harmonyGeorges Rodenbach does everything possible to create the atmosphere of the morbid deadly melancholia and this authentic aura of hopelessness and doom turns the novel into the well of despondency “In the vistas of the canals he discerned the face of Ophelia rising resurgent from the waters in all the forlornness of her beauty and in the frail and distant music of the carillon there was wafted to him the sweetness of her voice The town so glorious of old and still so lovely in its decay became to him the incarnation of his regrets”The main hero walks the streets of Bruges as if lost“After ten years of constant companionship with a woman to whom he had been absolutely devoted he had been rendered utterly unable to accommodate himself to her absence His only resource was the attempt to discover suggestions of her in other countenances”And unexpectedly he meets the woman who resembles his late beloved wife like the reflection of the moon in a canal resembles moon But the reflection isn’t substantial it is enough the slight breeze to ripple the water and the reflection is distorted and destroyed So gradually the protagonist gets disillusioned and becomes and obsessed and depressed“Hughes urged upon himself the necessity of bringing his life into conformity with the behests that were everywhere issued around him Bruges became again to him an intangible personality guiding counselling and determining all his actions”And depression cooped in the sick consciousness always finds the most unpredictable outlets


  4. says:

    Hugues Viane has retired to Bruges after the death of his wife of ten years; five years later he is still unable to put her memory to rest Indeed he has seuestered himself in his home erecting a shrine to his wife; in this room are gathered her portraits and various objects and trinkets along with a tress of her hair which Viane has placed inside a glass box Each day he caresses and kisses each item and by night he takes to the meandering the streets of Bruges whose grey melancholy he feels in tune with a kind of spiritual telegraphy between his soul and the grief stricken towers of BrugesAs in many symbolist texts doubling is apparent here not only is Viane's mood that of the city and therefore emphasized but his grief is so obsessive that he chances upon a woman whom he believes to be the striking image of his dead wife This act of doubling is one in which Georges Rodenbach is extremely interested in that it proves how the dead die twice the first death being their physical death and the second being when our memories of them begin to fade causing those mental images to which we cling to no longer be sources of recollection and comfortBut the faces of the dead which are preserved in our memory for a while gradually deteriorate there fading like a pastel drawing that has not been kept under glass allowing the chalk to disperse Thus within us our dead die a second time Bruges la Morte is very much concerned with the vacillation between states of intense joy and utter anguish In his obsession over Jane the woman who resembles his dead wife Viane is embodying this idea of the dead dying twice While there are moments of some melodramatic intensity characteristic of symbolist work Rodenbach is also keen on exploring how the life of a small city reacts to a scandal and it is both the solitary city scenes that drive home the despair of the protagonist and the scenes of townspeople gossiping in the city that demonstrate how the city works in different ways for its inhabitantsAlthough he is under the spell of this double and even though he hopes that the likeness would allow him the infinite luxury of forgetting Viane can do no such thing and soon finds himself at an erotic and psychological crossroads at which the distressing masuerade he enacts to uell his grief is not enough to sustain the memory of the deadBruges is very much the main character in the novel He was already starting to resemble the town Once he was the brother in silence and in melancholy of this sorrowful Bruges his soror dolorosa The novel is accompanied by photographs of the city to underscore the central role it plays in Viane's state of mourning Rodenbach is adamant about how living spaces breathe and affect those living thereTowns above all have a personality a spirit of their own an almost externalised character which corresponds to joy new love renunciation widowhood Each town is a state of mind a mood which after only a short stay communicates itself spreads to us in an effluvium which impregnates us which we absorb with the very airThis idea of the city having an emotional and psychological state of its own is also something Rodenbach explores in the short essay included in the Dedalus edition The Death Throes of Towns Bruges la Morte is a symbolist masterpiece; than that it is powerful novel about grief and mourning as well as a treatise on how one's city can reflect one's emotional state and vice versa


  5. says:

    A time of melancholic desperation Everything appears reminiscent of the loss of our loved one It is not a projection of our loss but that we chose to live here a place which occupies our feelings moods The inner and outer has become dissoluble Each is the other and enables us now to dedicate ourselves not to the stopping of life but to the dedication of our life to the devoted mourning of our dead love This is a religion which is supported by the mementos of the beloved dead wife including a tress of her golden hair where homage is paid daily A solitary life in a large house each day repetitively scheduled including walks through the brooding empty streets of Bruges where the only occasional passers by are elderly women bent and hooded apparitions of the march of death The town appears in its meager population to be a summonings of those waiting for time to pass without disruption to end in a good death Poetic and ethereal we march on to the peal of church bells the towers and belfry the grayness of the town’s substance Only forty already we are stooped over in our shuffled downtrodden walk The woman we see impossibly resembles our loved one; in appearance gait gesture We followRodenbach has created a land where inner and outer is emphasized through the distance of the third person narrator yet inclusive is the inner workings of the characters All this set in a world where what is left out is as important as what is mentioned in constructing the febrile tenuous atmosphere so important in the telling of this tale Little is mentioned to us of the lost beloved wife other than the mementos and his recall of their happiness for ten years The mementos are arranged in the house’s sitting room All we know about the house is its largeness and its gloom housing him and his elderly female servant His ours Bruges is not a concrete world but a world of resemblances An entombment into a dust of memories Yet he we follow the woman the flesh and blood woman into a theater She is not seated in the audience As the opera begins we see her on the stage This is a world created for the stage as this book is an entire world created for us by us Unusual Recommended


  6. says:

    The morbid obsession of an inconsolable bereavement and the dual mapping of that loss onto city streets fog bound and empty and onto a new living object innocent of the simulacrum she's been forced to become Or the book doesn't really see her as innocent casting her as a somewhat blandly archetypal manipulative harlot but really who wouldn't fair poorly under the projected image of a lover who is unable to see her at all behind the other he has lost? Still the streets of Bruges have a slow burning mystery here and a well wrought background of fanatical Catholic disapproval that builds to fever in the culminating Holy Blood procession Eerie and poetic this was a key text of the Belgian Symbolists admired by Huysmans and Mallarme with obvious causeIncidentally this edition was published by Atlas Press committed translators and reissuers of so many otherwise lost surrealist symbolist and dada texts Their edition also reproduces Rodenbach's photos of Bruges as they appeared in the original publication Symbolist painter Fernand Knopff also of Bruges did the original frontispiece and later did his own versions ghostly and elegaic of several of the photos


  7. says:

    Funny how years later I can still picture that one pose how everything else has fallen away – all the bitterness the arguments the boredom – and left only that I didn’t even see it first hand I saw only her reflection in the surface of the mirror I was sitting on her bed and she with her back to me was grabbing at her short hair and pouting at herself; and I don’t know I can’t recall if I even found it beautiful at the time but after the break up this probably unreliable memory became for a short while an obsession and the standard against which I judged all other women’s looks How silly of me In my mind I thought I was paying tribute to her and yet in reality I was doing her an injustice reducing her to a single image one that no one not even she could have lived up to If I see pictures of her now which I do very infreuently I just cannot suare them with that young woman reflected in the mirror who I’m now sure never existed anywhere but in my headGenerally speaking I’m not one for living in the past for desperately scrambling after something that has gone It’s too much like chasing a runaway donkey It has a taste of the absurd about it But I was nineteen at the time of the above anecdote and nineteen is an absurd age Besides grief does strange things to you No she didn’t die but the end of a relationship is a kind of death a little death It felt that way anyway I was in mourning; well until I got over it of course Some people however never manage to do that they cannot move beyond tragic or upsetting events People like Hugues Viane the central character in Georges Rodenbach’s atmospheric masterpiece Bruges la Morte“It was Bruges la Morte the dead town entombed in its stone uais with the arteries of its canals cold once the great pulse of the sea had ceased beating in them”In the opening pages Hugues is described as a solitary man with nothing to occupy his time This it soon becomes clear is because his wife of ten years is dead Or accurately it is because as hinted he cannot get over his wife’s death for he has obviously not been forced to spend the last five years alone it is a kind of choice Hugues wallows in his grief; he moves to Bruges because it strikes him as a melancholy place he contemplates suicide but won’t go through with due to the small chance that this will prevent him renewing his relationship with his wife in heaven and he is still wearing mourning for his spouse half a decade after she passed away Moreover he will not throw or give away her clothes or things or change the arrangement of the home they shared for this he thinks will in a way mean losing her again or another part of her It is then no surprise although it is rather macabre that his most treasured possession is a large chunk of her hair which he removed from the corpse and keeps in a glass caseOn the basis of all this one might legitimately call Hugues obsessive or even insane Certainly there is whatever you want to call it something unhealthy and peculiar about his behaviour even at this early stage of the narrative However as things progress one is left in no doubt at all as to how dangerous his frame of mind has become as he first follows and then begins a kind of relationship with a woman who he believes is the very image of his dead wife Yet it is to Rodenbach’s credit that one or I at least still feels some level of sympathy for his protagonist even in the weirdest and most excruciating moments such as when he attempts to make this doppelgänger try on one of his wife’s dresses Bruges la Morte is less than one hundred pages long and so the author did not have much to work with but I never stopped believing in Hugues; he and his grief always felt kosher to mePortrait of Georges Rodenbach by Lucien Lévy Dhurmer 1895While the trajectory of Hugues’ relationship with this look alike is what gives the novel momentum and tension and I’d argue that all great novels need those things it is not what provided me with the most enjoyment First of all Rodenbach’s prose is fantastic I have seen it described as ornate but it never struck me that way especially in the context of when the book was published 1892 a time when authors really did know a thing or two about overcooking their sentences For me Rodenbach wrote with clarity and insight and tenderness His prose is that special kind that if I can write this without too much cringing glides along the page with grace and absolutely without pretensionI was also impressed by how he worked his themes into the narrative in a way that is touching and engaging without being too heavy handed Bruges la Morte is of course primary concerned with death but rather than focussing on corpses and funerals and all that he chooses to write about change and decay and memory which are all or can be related to death of course I have mentioned some of this stuff already but it is worth exploring in detail Take the locks of hair Rodenbach notes how while the body slowly disintegrates the hair remains constant it doesn’t change or fade it in effect challenges death I was very much taken with thatOr consider how it is said that the face of Jane the look alike becomes that of his wife how to be specific after seeing Jane her face actually replaces that of his wife in his memory We have all I’m sure experienced that strange and cruel phenomena whereby we cannot properly remember what someone looks like where after a period of time their appearance starts to become fuzzy in our minds This is what happened to Hugues so while he thinks that Jane is a deadringer for his dead love in actual fact it is only ever Jane he sees; his wife in essence becomes Jane not the other way around I thought that was brilliant Moreover the marriage we’re told was extremely happy was one where the passion and love never diminished over time Therefore one wonders whether this is simply how Hugues remembers it rather than it being strictly the case for his wife has become in his mind a kind of saint Indeed he literally worships her memory and treats her things like relicsBruges la Morte when originally published featured a number of photographs of Bruges including this oneI hope I am managing to give some sense of how complex moving and satisfying a book this is There is over still much that I have not covered I haven’t for example mentioned how mirroring plays such a prominent role in the text Yes of course there is Jane and how she is the wife’s double but there is to it than that At the very beginning of the book Hugues house is said to be reflected in the water of the canal outside There is also much made of how Bruges itself mirrors the wife how it is a dead city and how Hugues needed a dead city to represent the dead woman I must before I finish cover this in a little detail for Bruges la Morte is often described as one of the great ‘novels about cities’ similar in this way to Ulysses or Bely’s Petersburg Yet without wishing to compare the uality of the three books all of which I love I would say that this one gave me of a sense of place than the others Bruges we’re told is where radiant colours are neutralised and reduced to greyish drowsiness like a pastel drawing left uncovered Which is let’s be honest fucking brilliant“Every town is a state of mind”Rodenbach takes us down the narrow streets upon which falls constant rain to the Église Notre Dame not the one in Paris along the canals and at every step there is an interplay between place and man each intensifies the inherent sadness or bleakness of the other Even Rodenbach's tomb is amazing


  8. says:

    He needed a dead town to correspond to his dead wife His deep mourning demanded such a setting Life would only be bearable for him there It was instinct that had brought him here He would leave the world elsewhere to its bustle and buzz to its glittering balls its welter of voices He needed infinite silence and an existence that was so monotonous it almost failed to give him the sense of being alive p 30 He possessed what one might call a 'sense of resemblance' an extra sense frail and sickly which linked things to each other by a thousand tenuous threads relating trees to the Virgin Mary creating a spiritual telegraphy between his soul and the grief stricken towers of Bruges p 60 In Bruges a miracle of the climate has produced some mysterious chemistry of the atmosphere an interpenetration which neutralises too bright colours reduces them to a uniform tone of reverie to an amalgam of greyish drowsiness p 61 The melancholy of the close of these all too brief winter afternoons Drift of mist gathering He felt the pervasive fog flooding his soul as well all his thoughts blurred drowned in grey lethargy p 89In retrospect winter's lingering finale was probably not the right time for me to have read this classic work of 'dead city prose' the grey weight of which has now seeped into my own leaden consciousness And yet would it have been any better to read such an homage to melancholy amid the burgeoning life promise of spring or worse during the heated obscenity of summer? Perhaps autumn's decaying splendor would instead have been the ideal setting in which to first dwell upon the lifeless calm of the canals of Bruges Alas I will never know


  9. says:

    Finishing off my Rodenbach readings with this marvelous novel FIRST TIER A profoundly sad and moving narrative of how all of a man's dreams are dashed one after the other A somber tribute to the melancholy charms of the city of Bruges as well as much as Bruges La Morte certainly as well as a rumination on ambition love and aesthetic appreciation A book for grey November afternoonsSECOND TIER A solid example of a satisfying Symbolist novel Rodenbach presents to us the rise and fall of a flawed man But perhaps Joris Borluut's fatal flaw is not so apparent as the usual crop and in truth he seems as much a victim of bad timing the trends of history and the melancholy spell of static morbidity that typifies Brugues as well as his love of that very uality Not a rousing knee slapper by any means but neither is it intellectually impenetrable and in truth I found it almost painfully heartfeltTHIRD TIER Joris Borluut wins the public competition to take on the role of Bruges' new carillonneur that is to say performer of the bells in the town's ancient bell tower And this is in keeping with Borluut's character he loves the old Flemish town specifically its aesthetic ualities of grey history solemn melancholy and somber stasis He works to solidify this uality in his role of Town Architect restoring and preserving neither eliminating or refurbishing too much the ancient and aging balustrades colonnades brickwork friezes and general aging patina of Bruge's facades embalming the place as it were As well he gathers with a small group of like minded individuals who wish to restore the town to its ancient greatness although through different and eventually contradictory means And now he can celebrate the beauty of the city with music decorating the mummified remains with soundBut his life slowly begins to fall out of synch with his dreams An impulsive marriage based on physical attraction to Barbara van Hulle saddles him with a manic depressive wife fit to bursts of violence and suicidal depression whereas her contemplative calm sister Godelieve had harbored a life long love for Joris And an affair ends badly for all His opposition to the Town Council's plans to revivify Bruges' status as a seaport disappeared as the harbor silted in over the decades which involves heavy construction and the loss of many famous buildings puts him at odds with the powerful costing him friendships and work And as he grasps at straws the refuge of the tower continues to callThis is a very sad book as melancholy and morose as Rodenbach's vision of Bruges It's status as a Symbolist novel does not give us an impenetrable series of images to decipher just some central ones the town of Bruges as museum of death the bell tower And these symbols have enough contradictory depth and complexity that the reader gains much in their contemplation The aesthetic idea of Bruges holds some weight the desire to preserve beauty and history in the face of endless crass economic progress and both the hopelessness of that noble cause and the danger as one is essentially embracing stasis and death The scene in which Borluut faces off against the town council's Monster Meeting only to find a small unenthusiastic crowd and plans already set in place that is to say the meeting is a formality of a fait accompli while he saw it as a chance to rally troops to his cause is heartbreaking and feels very of the moment even today And the idea is reflected on the personal level in old van Hulle's obsession with collecting clocks and his need for them all to keep exact time the idea that this plants in Boreluut's head the conception that dreams are anticipated reality achieved on the deathbed is similarly both melancholy and morbidLikewise Borluut's impetuous choice of Barbara and subseuent loss of the lovely and loving soul mate Godelieve has some nice symbolic resonance in the tower's Bell Of Lust which captives him with its carnal ualities And the slow delicate growth of his impossible love for the fairer sister is painful to read In fact the bell tower and the carillon are interesting and complicated central symbols themselves The placerole is a refuge a nuisance a seduction an aesthetic escape an energizing outlet an enervating task and finally a terminus for Borluut with shifting resonances in the worlds of creativity beauty philosophy and religion as the story moves on Borluut finds himself disorientated on returning to ground level at first after being high above the world and yet this situation reverses itself and then reverses again Rodenbach's treatment of religion is eually as interesting while not overly critical of Catholicism he weaves in a number of subtle observations of how the character's psychologies are influenced or not by Bruges' strong Catholic history A late in the novel visit to the Procession of the Penitents in Veurne contrasting the high religious imagery with the earthy motivations of the visit is a strong seuence as well Joris Borluut's fatal flaw is hard to pin down it seems almost a lack of singular vision or dedication a desire to jump from one thing to another instead of applying himself to the basic things that matter Once again he realized too late that he had not seen clearly enough whereas Bartholmeus his friend and devoted artist succeeds and triumphs over the adversity of the town councilAll in all this was a very powerful novel and I'm glad I read it It has that pervasive sense of melancholic gloom that Rodenbach also conjures in Bruges La Morte but with traditional less psychologically damaged characters Finishing it I find myself feeling as if I've surfaced after a long swim under murky icy waters intense but refreshing It made me want to re watch the odd crime comedy IN BRUGES and consider visiting the city itself


  10. says:

    BRUGES LA MORTE is a slim novel telling the story of a man who mourning his dead wife moves to the Belgian city of Bruges a city seemingly designed to mope in Mist and fog blanket the cobblestone causeways and chilly canals watched over by brooding stone cathedrals from whose towers peal endless mournful bellsYou may think I'm being satirical but actually this is a great atmospheric read Our narrator is shocked to pass a woman in the street who looks exactly liked his dead wife this book is sometimes cited as a inspiration for the book that inspired VERTIGO After casting around for her fruitlessly in the gloomy streets he finally finds her and starts up a relationship albeit a slightly awkward one as it has to incorporate his fetishistic shrine to her already passed predecessor And things get a little complicated when her character is discovered to be nothing like the pure sainted memory of the wife as this new version is nothing but a common actress hiss the word with me who dares to do things like have fun and dance around in the clothes of the ever lost Lenore What happens to a fetishist when he finally gets what he wants but it's not exactly what he wants because what he really wants is for his fixation to never change and thus be inert and dead? You may be right if you guessWorth searching out for those wanting a nice gloomy masterpiece of dark imagination that touches on the decadent and fantastic