HIDDEN FACES by Salvador Dali


Email this review


Much as it pains one to say it, this reissue of Dali's prophetic novel written in 1943 about Hitler and Europe and love and death only makes one wish that the idiosyncratically annoying painter of oozing watches and dripping telephones had permanently traded in his paintbrush for a typewriter. Against an arabesque of planes falling out of burning skies and intricate Resistance espionage carried on by communists, royalists, and anarchists, is the eternal but endlessly postponed mutual passion of Solange de Cleda and the Count of Grandsailles. It triumphs only in death over the count's pride and his equally intense feeling for the perfection of the landscape of the plain of the Creux de Libreux as seen specifically from his bedroom windows. Meanwhile the count's marriage to the wealthy American Veronica Stevens falters when she becomes gradually aware that Grandsailles is not the pilot whose head was encased in bandages with whom she became obsessed during the Parisian bombing raids. As Hitler goes increasingly insane at Berchtesgaden, endlessly washing his feet to the death aria from Tristan and Isolde, so too the count becomes more and more consumed by his transatlantic passion, which he finally consummates long distance via the black magic recovered from his beloved Middle Ages -- two grotesque portents of the decadence of European civilization over which the young phoenix of America will rise. This is a dazzling novel -- the stuff of farce (mistaken identities, false reports of death, Feydeau-esque love entanglements) transmuted -- like Grandsailles' endless potions -- into something else entirely.

Pub Date: March 6th, 1974
Publisher: Morrow