Author: Julián Ríos, Edith Grossman
Release Date: March 06, 2001
Julián Ríos's sensual and stylish Loves That Bind was acclaimed as "a literary tour de force" by the Washington Post Book World. Now, in Monstruary, the author is back to his old tricks, using dazzling wordplay and masterful allusions to give us a sensual exploration of art, literature, and the shadowy realms of the human spirit.
Ríos takes us into the eerie existence of the painter Victor Mons, who has created a series of works titled Monstruary, a menagerie of personal demons summoned from the disturbing and often erotic images of his past. We follow Mons on nocturnal outings and infernal escapades, as he encounters fiendish figures, otherworldly phantasms, and the beautiful models and prostitutes who serve as his muses. And we meet a host of fascinating and haunting characters: the architect who attempts to deconstruct a real city by constructing imaginary ones; the anonymous patron who commissions his portrait to be painted on his mistress's skin; Mons's ethereal lover, who torments him by recounting her infidelities--which he then paints; the mysterious itinerant collector, who may be only an actress playing the role of a lifetime.
In Monstruary, Ríos assembles all the monsters of the Western world—from classical antiquity to the silver screen, from the Minotaur to Dracula—and collapses the boundaries between reality and imagination, leading us into a new domain where the ghoulish and the exquisite collide and combine. With language that is playful, inventive, and virtuosic, he shows us the dark side of the human heart, and the strange places where life and art overlap, each feeding and inspiring the other.