The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment
A lover in and of the darkness …
Violaine, a devotee of books and learning, is sold by her father to a mysterious nobleman to become his companion. Fearing herself at the mercy of a monster, Violaine instead succumbs to the seductive spell of her magical new home, and the love of a man she has never seen, who comes to her only in the darkness of night.
The Château de Boisaulne is a place of many mysteries, but also a refuge for children of the Enlightenment in a time when Europe still languishes under the repressive chains of monarchy and superstition. But modern thought meets ancient lore, as the castle borders the forest lair of the roi des aulnes, an ogre said to be the ancestor of Violaine’s unseen lover … or are they one and the same? Paperback, $17.95, 280 pages. E-book $6.99.
- Publisher catalog page: D.X. Varos
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“Set against an exquisitely rendered French gothic backdrop, The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment is an intelligently erotic page-turner not to be missed.” – Joe McGinniss Jr., Kirkus Prize finalist and author of Carousel Court and The Delivery Man
“The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment is a remarkable work of fiction that manages to be a number of things at once: it is (among many other things) a variation on a popular fairy tale, a novel of manners, a good adventure story, and a philosophical tale … engaging, quick-paced, well-plotted, and charming as hell.” – Michael Austin, author of Reading the World and We Must Not Be Enemies
“A heady mix of historical fiction, fairy tale, philosophy, demonology, and romance. Call it baroquepunk—a fantasy of the French Enlightenment with a libertine edge and a goth heartbeat.” – Jeff Jackson, author of Destroy All Monsters and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist
“The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment’s gripping story will delight readers seeking both complexity and evocative reading.” – D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Doucet is great at painting a delightfully diverting fairytale land of intellectual salons and fanciful masquerade balls, cleverly combining … with the intelligence and sophistication of the Age of Rationality times her characters are about to grow into.” – Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
“The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment took me on a journey, to France, to centuries ago, to the exotic and erotic castle where ideas and philosophy are debated and fought over, and the desire to learn more, to be more, to love more deepens, especially as night descends. Unforgettable. A fabulous, fabulist tale from a new novelist to watch.” – Caroline Bock, author of Carry Her Home, Before My Eyes, and Lie
Short Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Literary Translation
- Excerpt of forthcoming novel, The Prisoner of the Castle of Enlightenment, Embark Literary Journal, April 2019 (Issue 8)
- “A Surefire Recipe for Unassailable Faith, Involving Four Judgments and a Vegetable Analogy,” Hotel Amerika, Fall 2010 (Volume 9, Number 1).
- “The Economy of Souls,” Jabberwock Review Summer 2010 (Volume 31.1).
- “Farzad, Son of Glory,” Bayou 2010 (Issue 53). This essay was listed as a Notable Essay of the Year in Best American Essays 2011.
- “Smug Married Advice to the Single,” Ducts.org, Winter 2009 (Issue 24).
- My translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Liebes-Lied” from the German was set to music in a choral work by American composer Giselle Wyers, published in June 2009 by Santa Barbara Music. You can listen to the piece here.
- “Art and Human Sacrifice,” Adirondack Review, Winter 2008 (Vol IX, No. 4).
Published through my own micropress imprint, Strange Violin Editions
A Lost Argument: A Latter-Day Novel. The summer after her freshman year at all-Mormon Brigham Young University, Marguerite Farnsworth falls in love with philosophy by way of falling in love with an atheist philosophy student. Her search for Truth (with a capital T), God, the meaning of life, and a boyfriend leads her away from religious belief, but along the way she learns there are are things even atheists can have faith in. 6×9 trade paperback, $14.00, 260 pages. E-book $4.99.
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“Blasphemous!” — Hemant Mehta, author of I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith Through an Atheist’s Eyes
” I found this book with its portrayal of the stark realities of relationships and the challenges of existence a clear-eyed examination of some of life’s most difficult questions. What I loved most about the book was that it did not shy away from going more deeply into philosophy than about any book I can remember since The Elegance of the Hedgehog. It follows a path that ranges from Kierkegaard to the Marquis de Sade … it’s clear that the author understands the existential difficulties of a faith journey.” — Steven L. Peck, author of The Scholar of Moab
“[A Lost Argument] defies exclusive categorization … I think anyone who has progressed from a ‘simple’ view of faith to an increasingly complex and nuanced view of faith through critical study of philosophy, theology, and the scriptures would find something to appreciate in A Lost Argument … Mormon or not, theist or not, anyone who advocates for the liberal arts and its capacity to develop and sharpen a person’s thinking should read this novel.” — Irresistible (Dis)Grace
“Marguerite transforms and matures (fitfully and awkwardly, at times) through a dialogue not only with the other living characters, but with the conflicting parts of herself, and with writers and philosophers dead and gone whose ideas still live on.” — Wheat and Tares
“[A] realistic and heartfelt portrait of the ups and downs of life and love for young people who don’t fit the perfect Mormon mold.” — Main Street Plaza: A Community for Anyone Interested in Mormonism
“This is a great book for discussion. Philosophy and faith are difficult topics to write about and sometimes harder to read. Therese [Doucet] did a wonderful job.” — Goodreads