London: Peter Owen Publishers, 2018. Hardback with dustjacket, 144 pages. New.
Goose of Hermogenes is a masterpiece of surrealist fiction from the pen of Ithel Colquhoun, artist and practicing occultist. Her first novel, it tells of a young woman’s search to escape from the sinister attentions of her uncle and his relentless attempts to conquer death through the use of black magic. The novel is structured using the stages of change and transformations of alchemical processes, and each of the twelve chapters are titled after one of the steps of the Great Work. Alchemical and esoteric themes resound through the text, in particular, Colquhoun’s deep abiding interest in gender transformation and the creative powers and energies of women.
Illustrated with five colour plates of the artist’s alchemical paintings, and including forewords by Peter Owen and biographer Richard Shillitoe, Goose of Hermogenes is a fine edition showcasing Colquhoun’s vivid prose and her remarkable and distinctive artistic style.