GENTILE ART by Iphgenia Baal
A6, 75 pages, Black & white printing, Perfect bound, Dust jacket, 2012
"A collection of short stories, this is a book about folk devils: creatures at war with respectable society and the conventions on which respectable society is based. It can also be read as a heartrending account of the permanent degradation of men of great talent due to persistent lack of self-control--often indistinguishable from madness. Gentle Art's diminutive dimensions echo the intent of early devotional literature--an almost disposable object, designed for personal edification and spiritual formation. Referencing Stephen Graham's 1927 work, The Gentle Art of Tramping--a manual for life on the other side--Gentle Art is a departure from standard experimental literature. Its aim is not to be difficult. Kidnapping personas from real life (marvellous George, the petrol-drinker, the ket-head with a woman for a cock and many more!) and entering them into absurd formatting--from Choose Your Own Adventure to a compilation of quotes footnoting the entire text--Baal's stories demonstrate how and why people slip beyond the norms of society and report back on what lies in store when they get there"