The Pleasure of Drowning

In his blurb for this book, Peadar Ó Guilín describes Jean Bürlesk as, “a scoundrel and a charlatan.” He should perhaps have added that Bürlesk is a charming scoundrel and charlatan. He is also a professional tour guide, and thus used to telling stories. He has something of the gift of the gab, which is perhaps why an Irishman admires him so. Anyway, Bürlesk presented me with a copy of this book while we were in Uppsala for the Eurocon. He said he hopes to lure me to his mysterious homeland of Luxembourg, doubtless for nefarious purposes, though he insists that it is only for a convention.

The Pleasure of Drowning is a very short book. It contains a number of even shorter stories, and one poem. These pieces of writing are mostly variations on classic fairy tales. Sometimes they are very odd variations. Bürlesk clearly has a deeply warped imagination, and his fiction is all the better for it.

I can’t really tell you much about the stories, because merely doing so would reveal the bizarre twists that Bürlesk has imposed upon them. Suffice it to say that you will meet the likes of Cinderella, Snow White and Beauty in guises that you might not expect. You will also meet Melusina, the serpent-woman whose legend is bound up with the history of the city of Luxembourg. They are all quick reads. Just the thing for when you have a few minutes spare and want to read something short and superficially pleasant that will have you thinking, “he’s done WHAT!” by the end.

book cover
Title: The Pleasure of Drowning
By: Jean Bürlesk
Publisher: Luna Press Publishing
Purchase links:
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Amazon US UK
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