Thursday, September 23, 2010

Coming In November -- I Am Your Brother

Over the summer, I was finally able to purchase a copy of G.S. Marlowe's  I Am Your Brother.

I became intrigued with the novel and its mysterious author (real name Gabriel Beer-Hoffman) a few years  ago. Locating a copy was a challenge and acquiring the book was an expensive pleasure.

When certain storm clouds have disappeared, and before others can assert themselves, I plan on devoting a post to the book.  I'm thinking November.

Following below are the superb dust jacket illustration by  Rex Whistler and Time Magazine's review, which ran in their February 25, 1935 edition:

Time Magazine -- Monday, February 25, 1935

Books: Surrealist Susurri

I AM YOUR BROTHER—Gabriel Marlowe—Harcourt, Brace ($2). 

Not colitis but sinus is now the most fashionable physical complaint. Likewise Surrealism is the latest rash on the high brow of Art. Even experts are puzzled by its cockeyed symptoms, cannot give a straightforward diagnosis; while laymen, confronted by the nightmare inconsequence of such surrealist pictures as Salvador Dali's (TIME, Nov. 26), are amused, bewildered or alarmed. But surrealism has its uses. In I Am Your Brother Author Marlowe has made it work for him, shows through this feverish medium a story distorted into real horror. One reason why such gruesome tales as Dracula are still traditional is because the old-fashioned paraphernalia have not been improved on. Author Marlowe shows a new way to make flesh creep.

In a decrepit old London house live Julian, a brilliant young musician, his sinister old mother, and Something Else, that is kept shut in the attic. Julian plays the piano in the orchestra of a third-rate musical show, whose pretty leading lady is his fiancee. They are too poor to get married, are too idealistic to do anything else. When his mother is killed in a traffic accident, Julian finds himself saddled with her fearful secret. He leaves the show, makes a success with his own music, tries to forget his inamorata in the crescendo of his new life. But the tempo rapidly gets too fast for him; the surrealist dream in which he finds himself becomes a nightmare. Too late he is taken to the refuge of an asylum. The attic has given up its secret. . . .

Cinemaddicts who saw Jean Cocteau's cinema. Le Sang d'un Poete (1933), will occasionally recognize in I Am Your Brother the same technique of mad imperturbability—as in the scene in which car after car drives up to the house where Julian is going to dinner; the doorman respectfully opens each door, no one emerges, the car drives on. No one says anything, no one is surprised. Oldsters may object that if this is surrealism, so is  Alice In Wonderland..  Surrealists may retort that in Alice there is nothing fishy.

I would like to be able to include the customary "author photo" of Marlowe here, but cannot.  

As far as I've been able to determine, no known images of Marlowe exist.  All we know about his appearance is the description given by Julian Maclaren-Ross, who visited Marlowe in his Kensington, London flat to discuss adapting I Am Your Brother as a radio play.  He reported that Marlowe was "very large, Nordic looking, in his middle thirties, amiable, ambling, almost ursine in appearance.  Like a big gentle blond bear."

No comments:

Post a Comment