The protagonist of this novel, twice exiled, first from his birthplace, Budapest, Hungary, and then from the United States as a Vietnam draft resistor who settles in Montreal, becomes obsessed with a poem by W.H. Auden and a painting by the Dutch master, Pieter Bruegel, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, an allegory about the nature of suffering that leads to his attempted suicide, the subsequent chaos of his life, and to his ultimate redemption. Set primarily in Montreal, the novel also travels to the places of the protagonist's past: the Europe of his childhood, the America of his adolescence, and the Montreal of his early adulthood through his memories and reflections. Despite its tragic-comic undertone, the novel profoundly explores the illusions we construct to provide value to our lives, the nature of love and the erotic, and the path towards compassion and meaning. Landscape with the Fall of Icarus is a subtly-crafted work, incorporating literary references, told in a fast-paced, engaging style. Alapi, known for his work on the writers of the New Underground as an editor and critic, presents a provocative edginess to his writing when it comes to sexuality and his lampooning of many of the sacred cows of our societal mores. As the British novelist Tony O'Neill wrote about his work: 'Alapi has a unique gift and it's one that most writers would kill to possess: he can move effortlessly from the poetic to the erotic, from the gritty to the heartbreaking, often in the space of a single paragraph.'
About the author
Zsolt Alapi is a short story writer, editor, and critic whose stories, articles, and reviews have appeared widely in Canada, the U.S., Great Britain, and France. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Alapi moved to Montreal, Quebec during the Vietnam War and finished his Ph.D. at McGill University. He taught literature at college and university for three decades and ran a micro-press, Siren Song Publishing, which featured writing from what The Guardian dubbed as 'The New Underground', edgy fiction that follows the path forged by the Beat and post-Beat writers of the latter part of the 20th century.