My friend L.R.Fredericks has just had her third novel published today, and what an astounding piece of work it is! I interviewed Lillian at her lovely home in Devon about her work recently, and you can hear the interview in the next edition of Druidcast, out by August 20th.
Her latest work, The Book of Luce, is a psychotomimetic* novel that takes us on a trip – generating at times mystical realizations through its lucid prose and its lyrical evocations of the better part of LSD trips, but plunging us also into a world of paranoia, as the narrator negotiates experiences reminiscent of psychosis, of bad acid trips, or perhaps – and here’s the twist – of ‘consensus reality’ and of a corrupt world in which the forces of ‘Normality’, determined to destroy any experience of the transcendent, attempt to expunge the work of the avatar Luce.
Luce is a David Bowie-like figure who heals and illumines through art, at once perhaps the Higher Self of the narrator, Chimera Obscura, but also a world saviour who, like Christ, walks on water and raises the dead.
One of the pleasures in reading this novel lies in its complete unpredictability, of the twists and turns which urge you to follow the literary and esoteric clues distributed through the book, while at the same time looking over your shoulder for the butler who will bring you a coffee laced with brandy and a freshly rolled spliff. Or is that figure moving towards you a demon simulacra who wants to enslave you – to make you participate in a breeding programme that will develop psychics to be used in the service of the State? At one moment the uncertainty and fear recedes as Fredericks gives the clearest exposition of an altered state, or a refreshingly candid insight into human relations, at another moment you tumble down another tunnel into more strangeness as you try to feel for the floor beneath you.
Luce is the third novel L.R.Fredericks has written over the last ten years, and the clues to the deeper meanings in her books begin with the subtitles she employs. On the very first page of ‘The Book of Luce: A Gnostic Gospel’, we see her two previous novels noted: ‘Farundell: A Hermetic Novel’, and ‘Fate: A Rosicrucian Tale’. Turn to these books and those subtitles are not there. The literary detective will spot the next anomaly. The title page shows The Book of Luce authored by L.R.Fredericks, with the publisher’s name and logo beneath, but turn a few pages and we have another title page, with the same book title, but a different logo, and a different author. Our journey down the rabbit hole has begun!
*Great word isn’t it? You’d think it meant ‘mimicking psychosis’ but it actually means ‘mimicking a psychedelic experience’.
The book is available in Hardback and ebook. The paperback arrives later…