Napoleons-roadsAashish Kaul at The Quarterly Conversation:

What saved these stories or inquiries from being mere postmodernist feints then, and what has always distinguished Brooks’s writing from the start—for instance, his early ekphrastic novel The House of Balthus where subjects from the paintings of the Polish-French artist Balthasar Klossowski de Rola come to life in an apartment block in a French country town—is their underlying humanity, and the struggle, plain to see, to birth them into being, the thrill of watching that rare dynamic, dialectic process where the writer is transformed in equal measure by the very material he works diligently to transform.

Napoleon’s Roads, in language now on the point of collapsing, now suddenly gone transparent to reveal the world in its minute splendor, but always totally committed to its stylistic and ethical concerns, is a step further along that path. “To hold nothing back!” writes Brooks in Balthus. “Isn’t that what the stars do? The dark, the nothing behind them, held back by them, and yet made so much the more evident because they are there?” Like the ancient seers of Vedic India, Brooks knows that the visible puts down its roots only in the soil of the invisible, that perhaps, like them, it is better to seek—in Roberto Calasso’s words—not power but rapture.

more here.