Translated from the French, Phototaxis is a fragmentary, darkly-humorous apocalyptic text from a leading young voice from Montréal.
In a city mysteriously overflowing with meat, a museum is bombed, a classical piano player hooked on snuff films throws himself off a building, a charismatic but misled political organizer has disappeared, and a young immigrant navigates a crumbling continent. A dystopic work of hope, Phototaxis dismantles and rebuilds worlds with language at turns surreal, scathingly comic, poetic, and revolutionary.
“How might we live in a world so full of contempt for us? How might we love each other in a smouldering cityscape where we are nothing but flickering lights over black waters, parasites, hosts, forgetful martyrs, prisoners staving off state-sanctioned cannibalism? War is never declared, yet its victims are innumerable. Bodies fall, pianos gather dust, governments collect data and impose curfews. Meat rots in the street, innocence is always a lie. We flagellate ourselves by the side of the highway in hopes of forgetting forgetting itself. Every cause is already lost, and every disappearance is wholly devoid of poetry. Nevertheless, despite everything, in the darkness, Narr still sings her song of light. Tapiero’s dizzying chronicle of beauty and horror is exquisitely rendered here in Schluter’s ethereal yet precise translation.”
“Canadian writer Tapiero’s narratively opaque but politically acute English-language debut… is a confrontational but eminently quotable text. This cyclone of art, destruction, and nonconformity impresses.”