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LOTE by Shola von Reinhold

LOTE by Shola von Reinhold

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Gayle recommends:

The rediscovery of a forgotten Black modernist poet who hung out with the Bright Young Things sends Mathilda on journey involving a mysterious artists’ residency somewhere in Mitteleuropa, secret societies engaging in occult practices, and a lot of fabulous sounding drinks. LOTE by Shola von Reinhold manages to be both a serious interrogation of the lost queerness and Blackness of history, and delicious fun to read.

From the publisher:

Lush and frothy, incisive and witty, Shola von Reinhold’s decadent queer literary debut immerses readers in the pursuit of aesthetics and beauty, while interrogating the removal and obscurement of Black figures from history.

Solitary Mathilda has long been enamored with the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 20s, and throughout her life, her attempts at reinvention have mirrored their extravagance and artfulness. After discovering a photograph of the forgotten Black modernist poet Hermia Druitt, who ran in the same circles as the Bright Young Things that she adores, Mathilda becomes transfixed and resolves to learn as much as she can about the mysterious figure. Her search brings her to a peculiar artists’ residency in Dun, a small European town Hermia was known to have lived in during the 30s. The artists’ residency throws her deeper into a lattice of secrets and secret societies that takes hold of her aesthetic imagination, but will she be able to break the thrall of her Transfixions?

From champagne theft and Black Modernisms, to art sabotage, alchemy and lotus-eating proto-luxury communist cults, Mathilda’s journey through modes of aesthetic expression guides her to truth and the convoluted ways it is made and obscured.