Patrick Holland reviews 'Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria: A novel in thirty-four cantos' by Brian Castro

Patrick Holland reviews 'Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria: A novel in thirty-four cantos' by Brian Castro

Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria: A novel in thirty-four cantos

by Brian Castro

Giramondo, $26.95 pb, 224 pp, 9781925336221

Patrick Holland

Patrick Holland

Patrick Holland is the author of five books,...

By this contributor

Lucien Gracq, the hero of Brian Castro’s verse novel Blindness and Rage, wishes to be a writer, though he has written only love letters to women, which achieved tragicomic results, or none at all. When Gracq retires from his job as a town planner in Adelaide, it seems he will have the time and freedom to write the epic he has dreamed of, but he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and given fifty-three days to live, enough time, perhaps, to compose something worthwhile. But Gracq must overcome a more fundamental problem: he is terrified of leaving his mark upon the blank page, and on the world.

Gracq moves to Paris and joins a secret society of experimental writers Le club des fugitifs, who erase their names from their works, bequeathing them to others so as to reject the tyranny of authorship: both the distorting fame it bestows upon the writer, and the misinterpretation of texts it invites: ‘plagiarism in reverse’ says the group’s leader, Georges Crêpe (the surname an anagram for Perec), ‘to provide a cleansing service before oblivion’.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are already a subscriber, click here, or on the ‘Log In’ tab in the top right hand corner of the screen, and enter your username and password to log in. If you have logged in but are still seeing this message your subscription to ABR Online may have expired. Please contact us or click here to renew your subscription to ABR Online. More information about ABR Online can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.