John the Posthumous articulates an alien linguistic world, woven together from Biblical quotes, opaque legal cases, and allusions to Winslow Homer’s paintings—not to mention eighteenth-century conduct books, histories of the French monarchy, and the floor-plans of abandoned properties (that’s just to begin with). The book is a baffling accumulation of folklore and apocrypha, convincing fictions and far-fetched facts…

John the Posthumous further intensifies this closeness of focus—only here Schwartz turns his attention to horror. In a sense, every scene is a murder scene; every ornament—“the rod, the shade, the ring”—an “emblem of betrayal.” Alluding to occult codes in old Bibles, the narrator remarks that “Satan appears to the left of every phrase. So goes one old notion.” And this is true of John the Posthumous too; the devil is in the details.

Read the full review at Electric Literature.

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