Marvick, Louis - The Second Mask
This is a wicked book.
The sort of book Lord Henry would present to young Dorian to further his education, to deepen his corruption.
And this is a tale of corruption: of values, of morals, of pledges.
Corruption, betrayal, deception, with a knowing eye toward self-deception.
Circa 1890, Sir Archibald Hacker is the acknowledged preeminent artist of his time. Whether paintings or sculpture, his compositions all but breathe life.
Just before his death, however, he entrusts a commission, a task, to a young lawyer. A man who already knew Hacker cloaked darker activities behind a genteel façade.
What remains is a sketchbook of unspeakable studies. Of recognizable depravity, which, like so many lurid obscenities, is potently addictive.
Louis Marvick has crafted a decadent journey, quite in keeping with the rotting aftermath of London’s fin de siècle.
Marvick has succeeded where others preen and posture emptily, boasting of their modern decadence, yet incapable of rivaling the celebrity frauds of our era, of matching the venalities that spill from political figures, let alone equaling the twittering car wrecks that everyone slows down to wallow in.
Marvick’s The Second Mask is an elegant atrocity, skillfully written, a crystal mirror against clouds of falsehoods.
Those who would seek the truth, would soon blind their own eyes.