Written very much in the dark and twisted tradition of Guy de Maupassant, Maleficium creates a single story comprised of eight short stories, all charged with sexual deviance, repression, greed and pretty much the embodiment of the seven deadly sins, save for murder. It is exotic and reveals an extraordinary imagination. For lovers of dark erotica, this is your drug.
Which is to say, I am a lover of none of these things, and hence this review may be coloured by that prejudice.
That aside, the translation is deftly handled, balancing an homage to 19th century writers of dark fiction, and modern sensibilities of literary style. Martine Desjardins herself demonstrates impeccable historical research and an understanding of a variety of arts and trades, so that details of the various artifacts and arts, so lustily pursued by our seven protagonists, form a credible backdrop.
Overall, a haunting read which lingers like the dark euphoria of an opiate.