charles-beadle

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Diane Donovan, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Review (Nov. 2022):

Dark Refuge appears in print for the first time since its original publication in 1938, presenting a world traveler’s experiences with bohemian life in Paris in a novel that also serves (thanks to Rob Couteau) as a biography of Beadle’s life.

Extensive annotated references link Beadle’s experiences to his fictional representations, offering a literary backdrop for understand-ing both the atmosphere and progression of his fiction and its roots in reality.

Readers should be prepared for a sexual romp that is ribald, explicit, and thoroughly steeped in Beadle’s personal experiences of the times. Beadle’s language is evocative, poetic, and dramatic: ‘I simply slip through the other room of the café and out into the other boulevard, laughing to twist my guts. Nobody knows that I have a rendezvous. The coat and hat annoy me. How silly! I throw them away as I run, for I know it is late and I’m frightened that my beloved will not wait. God is crying harder than ever, and I suck in his tears. How funny it must be to weep!’

Whether exploring drug experiments and the revelations that follow them or descending into the sordid and colorful world of bohemian Paris, Beadle flavors all of his impressions with the same attention to flowery detail that makes his writing so time-less: ‘Inexorably I was borne along up this staircase of Time as an express lift passes floors, glimpsing worlds where the highest form of life was apes chattering futilely in leagues of simian nations of their own; where vast beasts resembling tanks plunged through swamp and over prairie; where the sky was of steam and gas, and volcanoes burst like firecrackers on a Chinese New Year amid a seething sea; and on and on until there were no more worlds and naught seemingly but incandescent void.’

Pair this with the extensive notes and annotated references Couteau injects to not just explain but expand the story, for a sense of the unique literary and historical importance of this reappearance of Beadle’s rare classic, which has been out of print for far too long.

Libraries seeking literary representations of the marriage between fiction and nonfiction will find Dark Refuge a fine example. The 200+ annotated notes come from previously unpublished letters and docu-ments, combining with photos and historical reviews to represent a hallmark of not only literary fiction, but biographical research.

Dark Refuge deserves a place in any library strong in works of literature that represent the intersection between fictional devices and bio¬graphical inspection, whether or not there is prior knowledge of or interest in Beadle’s works and importance.

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Distributed by IngramSpark. ISBN  978-1-7360049-3-7. For more information contact dominantstarllc@gmail.com


Rob Couteau poetry

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Diane Donovan, Senior Editor, Midwest Book Review (May 2022):

A Blind Man Crazy for Color: A Tribute to Léon Angély documents an early 20th century retired clerk who collected art by Picasso, Modigliani, and Utrillo before these artists were famous. Despite his failing vision, Léon Angély could see the promise of these artists before those around him acknowledged their talents. He employed a young girl to help him make his selections when his sight no longer permitted him to personally enjoy them.

The book is illustrated with original artwork by Picasso's model and muse, Sylvette David, who posed for the painter in 1954 when she was only nineteen years old. Her black and white and color sketches accent this colorful portrait of Léon's life, motivations, involvement in the art world, and the pieces he collected. Previously unpublished information about the blind man's passion and his influence on the art world enhances a survey that should be required reading and acquisition for any serious art history student and the libraries catering to them.

The well-researched treatise is supported by documentation that ranges from birth and death certificates to Rob Couteau's personal research into Sylvette David who, at eighty-seven, adds her memories to the story to expand reader insights about both Picasso and David's life and their art involvements.

Readers also receive revealing inspections of the process of interviewing artists and capturing their historical and artistic impact, adding to A Blind Man Crazy for Color's importance as a survey that goes beyond a singular biography of an art enthusiast to delve into the world of artists, art appreciation, and muses. The blend of all these elements demonstrates the interlinked potentials and importance of artists, muses, and those who appreciate, purchase, and analyze their work:

"Although he died impoverished and nearly forgotten, and although the identity of his youthful guide is still enshrouded in mystery, le Père Angély helped to preserve what Richardson calls the “sacred stuff of art” – regardless of whether his motivation was merely pecuniary. Léon and Joséphine may also have inspired the greatest artist of the twentieth century."

Serious art libraries should consider this extraordinary recreation of artistic ambitions against all odds a mainstay that stands out in many different ways. 

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Distributed by IngramSpark. ISBN 978-1-7360049-9-9. For more information contact dominantstarllc@gmail.com