Monday, February 16, 2009

Premature Book Review: The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch, A Grotesque Tale of Horror

Ladislav Klima's The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch: A Grotesque Tale of Horror delivers on its title. It has everything; a decadent noble of questionable intelligence and sanity; a twisted, depraved, satanic shrew; not so graphic lewdness; dungeons, murder, madness... It is frankly, at times, difficult to stomach; and I have read The 120 Days of Sodom — more than once.

Prince Sternenhoch is an esteemed noble who marries a horrid woman, Helga. She is from a decadent, fallen aristocratic house (decadent in the Lovecraftian sense). He cannot stand the sight of her, but is drawn in through some unknown force. Immediately the marriage falls apart. A man comes between them, and then things start getting really ugly.

The book takes the form of a journal, and at times gets a little hard to read, as Sternenhoch is supposed to be fairly stupid. His descent into madness is well written, as we don't know how mad he really is until he does (the mad typically don't think of themselves as such). At times the book is quite horrific, as the title implies.

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