Occasionally, stories find me. They hover in display cases and archives at museums, galleries, and libraries, waiting for me to pluck them from the edges of history, from dusty photographs, and, occasionally, from taxidermy exhibits. Grotesque is just such a story, conjured after several visits to the beautiful chateau of Clos du Lucé in Amboise, France, where, in a lower gallery, visitors can enjoy the schemas of da Vinci’s inventions and spy the entrance to the tunnel which runs five hundred metres from the exiled engineer’s villa to the chateau of his patron, François 1e. In Grotesque, François 1e is dead, leaving his kingdom in the hands of his fourteen-year-old namesake and his regents, with the tumultuous religious and political climate of the 1500s, many of its characters, including its monster, lifted directly from the pages of history.
This reading is from the title story in the collection: Grotesque.