Downstream, the shortest and most autobiographical of Huysmansâ novels, is the perfect example of what the French naturalists wanted a novel to be. This dark and mordantly comic masterpiece of everyday pessimism about a Parisian clerk seeking spiritual contentment is the perfect introduction to the pleasures of Joris Karl Huysmans (1848â1907), whose exquisite style is ironically the most perfect remedy for any readerâs taedium vitae.
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