Size / / /

Ninth in a monthly series of excerpts from The Book of All Cities.

Jouiselle-aux-Chantes is the city of erotic forgetting.

The spores of a certain mushroom produce dementia in those who find themselves in Jouiselle-aux-Chantes in the spring. Those who have grown up there are somewhat resistant: they treat the spring as a time to be very careful doing business, a time when everyone is slightly drunk. But visitors to Jouiselle-aux-Chantes in the spring display all the symptoms of senility: they do not recognize their own wives and husbands; they forget their names, professions, and histories.

The wise city fathers of Jouiselle-aux-Chantes, rather than treating the spores as a calamity, have marketed their city as an erotic paradise. Couples coming to Jouiselle-aux-Chantes forget their rivalries and resentments, and frolic and cuddle as if meeting again for the first time. Businesswomen's hearts race like schoolgirls'; sailors blush; kisses are clumsy but full of promise. If a debutante propositions the gardener working in her parents' garden, it can produce no scandal; if a priest forgets his vows, it is no sin.

In the fall, the mushrooms die, and the cool air clears everyone's head. Most of the tourists go home -- confused, but treasuring snatches of memory of the high life they lived in Jouiselle-aux-Chantes. But there are always those for whom the season of forgetfulness is their undoing, for whom the return of memory is cruel.

In the fall, the grave diggers always have plenty to do.


Previous city (Maxis)

Next city (Penelar of the Reefs)

All published cities

 

Copyright © 2001 Benjamin Rosenbaum

Reader Comments


Benjamin Rosenbaum
Image © 2000 Lee Moyer.

Benjamin Rosenbaum lives in Basel, Switzerland, with his wife and baby daughter, where in addition to scribbling fiction and poetry, he programs in Java (well) and plays rugby (not very well). He attended the Clarion West Writers' Workshop in 2001 (the Sarong-Wearing Clarion). His work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Writer Online. His previous appearances in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive. For more about him, see his Web site.



Benjamin Rosenbaum recently became Swiss and thus like all Swiss people is on the board of a club. His children, Aviva and Noah, insist on logic puzzles, childrens' suffrage, and endless rehearsals of RENT. His stories have been translated into 24 languages, nominated for stuff, and collected.
Current Issue
7 Oct 2019

Aboard the ghost ship Nine Lives there are the living, the dead, and a great many cats.
By: Charles Payseur
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Charles Payseur's “The Sloppy Mathematics of Half-Ghosts.”
the myriad flavours of ancient childhoods burst on our tongues in virtual experience
By: Davian Aw
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Davian Aw's “Those Who Tell the Stories.”
Issue 30 Sep 2019
Podcast: High Hopes 
By: Kali de los Santos
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Podcast: Progression 
By: Heitor Zen
Podcast read by: Julia Quandt
Podcast: Spider 
By: Sérgio Motta
Podcast read by: Sérgio Motta
Podcast: Replacement 
By: Isa Prospero
Podcast read by: Solaine Chioro
Monday: 3% 
,
Issue 23 Sep 2019
By: August Huerta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Sep 2019
By: Marie Brennan
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Hester J. Rook
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Hester J. Rook
Issue 9 Sep 2019
By: Shiv Ramdas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Sarah Shirley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
31 Aug 2019
Brazil Special Issue call for fiction submissions!
Issue 26 Aug 2019
By: Cynthia So
Podcast read by: Cynthia So
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 19 Aug 2019
By: S. R. Mandel
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 12 Aug 2019
By: Niyah Morris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Dante Luiz
Art by: Em Allen
By: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Rasha Abdulhadi
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 5 Aug 2019
By: Aisha Phoenix
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alexandra Seidel
Podcast read by: Alexandra Seidel
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
31 Jul 2019
We're all so very excited to put your funds and good faith to use, providing a platform for voices⁠ new and international, creative and resisting.
Load More
%d bloggers like this: