Harrison, M. John - The Course of the Heart




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The lives of self-styled gnostic magician Yaxley and a trio of Cambridge students become irrevocably altered by an occult ritual which shatters the barrier between reality and a fabled sensuous realm known as "the Pleroma." Years later the participants, now disillusioned, middle-aged intellectuals, find themselves incapable of remembering what, exactly, transpired on that fateful midsummer night. All are troubled by strange hallucinations: epileptic Pam Stuyvesant is menaced by visions of a copulating pair of apparitions, a dwarfish creature torments her estranged husband Lucas Medlar, Yaxley becomes increasingly obsessed with a terrifying transcendent reality, and the novel's enigmatic narrator, seemingly the least affected member of the group, is haunted by the smell of roses.

Consuming personal mythology, sexuality, and fear collide with hallucinogenic intensity in M. John Harrison's dense, savored prose and intoxicating, complex storytelling.

"Mike Harrison is the only writer on Earth equally attuned to the essential strangeness both of quantum physics and the attritional banalities of modern urban life." - Iain M. Banks, author of The Algebraist and The State of the Art

"That M. John Harrison is not a Nobel Laureate proves the bankruptcy of the literary establishment. Austere, unflinching, and desperately moving, he is one of the very great writers alive today." - China Miéville, author of Iron Council and The Scar

"M. John Harrison is a writer whose work detonates in the mind after putting the book down. His prose runs like silk but his ideas work like some principle of atomic fission. I'm in awe of his writing powers." - Graham Joyce, author of The Limits of Enchantment & The Facts of Life

"The Persian poet Rumi wrote, 'Open your hands if you wish to be held.' Almost the same could be said about M. John Harrison... Open your mind if you wish to be enthralled." - Jonathan Carroll, author of Glass Soup and White Apples

"M. John Harrison is a blazing original. His books are fictions of elegant delirium, dark and transcendent by turns... a great imaginer, and an extraordinary writer." - Clive Barker, author of Abarat and Coldheart Canyon

"Harrison is a visionary writer who deserves far greater recognition." - Times Literary Supplement

"For more than twenty years, Harrison's work has anticipated the amphetamine buzz and bleak ardor of the early 21st century: it's just taken the world that long to catch up with him." - The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

"Harrison displays a masterful control of character, language, and landscape and an ability to expose the unnerving sense of the inexplicable that runs beneath the surfaces of life." - The Review of Contemporary Fiction

"M. John Harrison uses the conceits of science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction to expose the follies and sorrows of the human condition... Harrison is always worth reading" - The New York Times

Cover art by David Lloyd.


Hardcover 978-1-59780-040-2
220 Pages $25.00

Trade Paperback 978-1-892389-97-8
220 Pages $13.95
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