Friday, 21 February 2014

BEAUTY AND THE LEAST


Alternative Right co-editor Andy Nowicki's new novella Beauty and the Least is now available for purchase. Published by Ann Sterzinger's Hopeless Books, Nowicki's new work is a horrifically fantastic, torridly twisted tale of desperation, obsession, surprising seduction, ambiguous intentions, and murderous consequences. 

Beauty and the Least can be purchased in paperback or on Kindle at Amazon.com. 

Below is a Youtube promo, in which the author reads selected passages from his book.(The excerpted text follows beneath the video.)



The simplest way to tell my story is simply to put one word in front of another, and to keep writing until I reach my journey’s end. Yet every writer forced to experience the arduous trek towards never-completion knows full well that things can never be so simple. One backsteps, deletes, omits, and adds along the way, to the point where he even begins almost to despair of ever actually making progress towards his goal. Still, I will forge forward, settling perhaps for less than perfection, since I am quite aware of the fact that time is running out. 

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I am a dying man. I have consumed poison, which is killing me slowly, eating me away from within as surely as cancer. 

That poison is Beauty. 

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Yes, that which is beautiful allures, entices, draws one to itself, invites one to partake in a seemingly heavenly embrace… yet one must understand the bitter riddle it represents. We need beauty, because beauty escorts us through our ordeals, infusing them with meaning; beauty, in short, helps us to feel less alone. But perhaps on this point I should “speak for myself,” as they say. 

Yes! I will speak for myself. 

*********************************** 

For me, I’ll confess, beauty has always been both an enthrallment and a fatal stumbling block. Perhaps the draw of the beautiful stems from an awareness of my own conspicuous lack of this quality. Indeed, though I was once a lovely child—I can scarcely recall this, of course, but I have the proof from old photographs—now I am an exceedingly plain man, average-looking at best. Having been beautiful at one point, and having had my former loveliness wrested away somewhere between that time and now, perhaps some wistful and willful section of my soul still yearns to be reunited with what I lost… 

*********************************** 

My cross first gained my notice by smiling at me one Sunday morning after Mass was over. Why did she smile at me? To this day, I do not know for sure. I’m sure that for her, it was an effortlessly casual gesture with no real significance. Yet the fact remains that it was she, not I, who initiated contact. And you must believe me when I tell you that the smile she flashed seemed radiant and sincere, and, most important, was utterly unprovoked. 

*********************************** 

Every time I saw her in church, attended or alone, my heart throbbed sickeningly. I deeply desired to be transported back to the Day of the Smile, when I first stumbled upon this sparkling gem, and she generously favored me with a deliriously enticing shimmer of unaccountable attention. My feelings, however, were an odd jumble of the lovelorn and what could perhaps be called the perversely paternal. 

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The doomed, damned hero of this sordid story (that is, me) saw and comprehended all that was taking place. Each time he projected his serpentine spirit into his Eve’s body, lavishly ravishing his maid, he sensed her edging closer to perdition. He knew he was corrupting her, drawing out her wanton streak, yet he could hardly help himself; the pull was altogether too powerful. 

Surely he wasn’t actually assaulting her innocence, and drawing such dewy dividends, in so shockingly shameful a manner. Still, he couldn’t help but be slightly alarmed at the frequency now with which these trances overcame him… 

*********************************** 

In a hoarse, croaking cry, he sputtered out that he was the one who had seduced her, debauched her, brought her into conflict with her purity, sent her careening down the road to damnation. He had greedily plundered her beauty because his own faith had gone dull: he couldn’t live on the Body of Christ alone, because to him that blessed corpus Christi only tasted like a plain old, un-special, nonconsubstantiated cracker. Yes, and the Savior’s blood itself had seemed but thin gruel when he could feast on her quite tangible beauty, could tear at it with raw, carnivorous abandon, subsume her wholly into himself, in a mad quest for… what? 

*********************************** 

And all the while, the storm rages roughly outside. Floodwaters rise along the banks of the bay, and the wild, whimpering wind chafes at my ears as I sit at my desk, sweating with rancid anxiety, praying desperately for deliverance from evil. 

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