LOTE

By Shola von Reinhold

LOTE
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What was beyond doubt by the time I got back was that a new Transfixion had arrived in the form of Hermia Druitt, the woman in this photograph. This was confirmed by the sensations: flashes from Arcadia. Moonlight, of a kind, sighed up and down the tube of my spine, but above ... Read more


Overview

What was beyond doubt by the time I got back was that a new Transfixion had arrived in the form of Hermia Druitt, the woman in this photograph. This was confirmed by the sensations: flashes from Arcadia. Moonlight, of a kind, sighed up and down the tube of my spine, but above all, that indescribable note which accompanied all my Transfixions was present: humming beneath the high fine rush--probably not dissimilar to holy rapture--was an almost violent familiarity. The feeling of not only recognising, but of having been recognised.

A new Transfixion.

 

Shola von Reinhold's lavish debut novel lays bare, through ornate, layered prose, the gaps and fault lines in the archive. Through obsessive research on an overlooked Black modernist poet, the narrator buckles under the vacuousness of the art world and also curates a queer historical scene, breaking it open and reveling in it. Originally published in the UK by Jacaranda as part of the Twenty in 2020 Black British writers series, LOTE won both the James Tait Black Prize and The Republic of Consciousness Prize in 2021.

Shola von Reinhold

Shola von Reinhold is a writer based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Excerpt

After a few minutes, the rigidity of the black and white photos would, if not depart, then liquify. A day's immersion left the same mental after-dazzle as a sun-glanced afternoon, lakeside.

These non-existent beams, hurled up from non-existent tree-fringed and flickering bodies of water, were the perfectly normal sensational offshoots of gazing at photos all day. They were access to, glimpses of, Arcadia: The Grand Ahistorical Mythical Paradise which is the ultimate project of all Arcadian Personality Types who crave a paradise knit out of visions of the past much like their more illustrious cousins, Utopians, do with the future. (It--paradise--is ultimately to be a collaboration. )

Utopian Personality Types, as a rule, find old things redolent of decay, and can just about put up with new things which are still not the future.

The classic counterpart traits of the Arcadian, like a fondness for old objects and buildings, and an inclination towards historicised figments, were, as far as I was concerned, much easier to inhabit for white people, who continued to cast and curate all the readymade, ready-to-hand visions. Being born in a body that's apparently historically impermissible, however, only meant I was not as prone to those traps that lie in wait for Arcadians--the various and insidious forms of history-worship and past-lust. I would not get thrown off track: I could rove over the past and seek out that lost detail to contribute to the great constitution: exhume a dead beautiful feeling, discover a wisp of radical attitude pickled since antiquity, revive revolutionary but lustrous sensibilities long perished.

Read more at lithub. com/lote/

Not prone but certainly not impervious. The photographs we had been sorting through had thus far consisted mainly of holiday shots. Some quite spectacular. Europe in the '20s and '30s. Old pensiones and hotels. Scenes of a modernist Alpine Queerdom. The photographer, I thought, must have been the short dark-haired man who occasionally came in and out of shot, but it was hard to say, as there was also a gloriously imperious woman that might have been his wife (which did not seem to stop either of them partaking in the Alpine Queerdom).

Awards

  • The Republic of Consciousness Prize 2021, Winner
  • James Tait Black Prize for Fiction 2021, Winner

Reviews

Listed on "20 Canadian books we can't wait to read in June" - CBC Books

There's something about projects of queer biographical recovery that tend towards fixity, towards foundations, toward literal correspondences . .. LOTE doesn't fix, doesn't found, isn't literal. It shimmers, it slips, it extends.

- Anarchist Review of Books

Lote delights in satirizing contemporary arts culture and carving out a Black, queer perspective. Witty, gorgeous, and at times Gothic, it questions the lines between fantasy and obsession--and the boundaries of escapism.

- NUVO

von Reinhold celebrates embellishment, extravagance, and not only "feeling seen" but being placed centre stage - demanding to be perceived despite a social insistence to remain hidden.

- Montreal Review of Books

The novel is underpinned by a question: Why are so few queer Black British modernists documented in those flourishing interwar years? Through an impressive mix of scholarship and historical fiction, Reinhold sets out to unravel and challenge this history, prying open the ledgers to ask how and why the received archive is so overwhelmingly white.

- The White Review

The favored plot point of archival thievery suggests that the driving force of each recovery novel lies in a desire for the past that exceeds what is considered appropriate, professional, and even legal. For Mathilda, her Transfixions offer her a relationship with her predecessors that is more complicated than mainstream culture's fantasizing about the past.

- Full Stop

LOTE is a magical, revolutionary piece of writing.

- Frieze

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