The Abdication

Rainer J. Hanshe

“A visionary novel of dangerous ideas” — Stuart Kendall

Spring 2032: an enigmatic bandleader named Triboulet arrives by helicopter in Rome, where his carnivalesque troupe awaits with a legion of animals and unruly kids. When provoking states of joyous panic through their ritualistic acts, the troupe’s arrival proves restorative, for the world is beset with famines, plagues, and religious conflicts, which Triboulet seeks to neutralize with freeing laughter. As he and his troupe begin constructing strange edifices in the Eternal City, sacred sites around the world suffer terrible, often beguiling forms of vandalism, and rumors abound that the Christ has actually finally returned. Although radical Islamic sects claim responsibility for the vandalism, the culprits remain unknown: is it the Jihadists, anarcho-atheist intellectuals, or eco-terrorists? Religious and political authorities grow leery of the troupe and suspicious of Triboulet, whose true identity remains a mystery. The very future of the world is at stake, and while touring Israel during Christmas, Triboulet and his raucous band of pranksters bear witness to the world’s pivotal crossing into a new reality.

The Abdication

Albert Camus noted that ‘the metaphysics of the worst’ expresses itself in a literature of damnation and argued that ‘we have still not yet found the exit’ from such literature. With his second novel, Hanshe has found the way out, offering in fact something not only promising, but astounding, a pathway that is into a new reality, into a ‘physics of the best.’ The Abdication is a true ero(t)icomic epic.


“With this new novel, Hanshe reinforces his growing reputation as one of today’s most original and thought-provoking novelists.” — Keith Ansell-Pearson

The Abdication is an extraordinary mythic delirium-philosophy, rich with erudition and wit, chronicling the exploits of a Heraclitean prophet ushering in nothing less than the Age of Heterology. Long may it unnerve.” — Lance Olsen, author of Calendar of Regrets

“Hanshe’s phantasmagoric and cunning prose eviscerates accreted mythologies while revealing the tragedy attendant on the death and births of gods. Its controversial premises will enrage and provoke many, but the quality and elegance of the writing will amaze all.” —Nicholas Birns, author of Theory After Theory

The Abdication is a visionary novel of dangerous ideas, a theological thriller concerned with the absence of god and the question posed by the phrase: Dionysus versus the Crucified. It is as richly allusive as it is physically direct: a novel of revolt that can at times be revolting in its relentless push to break the mold of idealist thought. As well argued as it is intricately arcane, indeed dense with learning and lore, this book is both experimental and assured, a comedy of high seriousness and gospel of the flesh that our winded civilization has needed for 2,000 years. Ridendo dicere severum!” — Stuart Kendall, author of Georges Bataille

The Abdication is so perfectly consistent in its apocalyptic, visionary crescendo of the whole. What is admirable is the almost 360° bulk of Hanshe’s mythological and theological (that is, meta-geological) sources, his learned but burning quotations and his sharp meditations, as well as his Rabelaisian, Nietzschean, and Orwellian grotesque use of ancient paganism and of heretical Christian currents: a massive, widespread recherche indeed to build his chaos cathedral, and a true, bitter monumentum to his sublimated agonies, a labyrinth-shaped one, against Western Religions of the Book: a true ero(t)icomic seqel/sequela to Nietzsche. This helps us understand that the many whirling repetitions-Leitmotif of the ritual “basso continuo” scenes of Dionysian destruction-renovatio, like the dance of Shiva (wild music, symbolic and ludicic buildings, blood, sweat and laughter, orgies and frenzies) are deliberate and circularly shaped. And its apocalyptic vision of the primigenial geological life on Earth in its continental drifts are scientifically Whitmanian. The Abdication, with its very intellectual pathos (much more intellectual and raisonné than Hanshe’s first novel, The Acolytes) requires a chosen audience or brotherhood of refined and “strong” readers. Some may be repulsed by the animal sacrifice scenes, but they have a coherence with Hanshe’s earth and air bestiary and with the pagan wilderness. Many scenes are wonderfully “acted,” including the keen and humorous parody of the Inferno, the fate of the Vatican, the Dostojewskian scene between Triboulet in prison and the fulminating Pope, as well as the final pyramid of kids on the collapsed Triboulet. The Abdication is a true ero(t)icomic epic.” — Maura Del Serra


Rainer J. Hanshe, The Abdication (New York: Contra Mundum Press, 2012). ISBN: 9780983697220. 20 USD, 16 GBP, 14€. Bookstores can order through Ingram or other distributors. Otherwise, copies can be acquired through local retailers or Amazon and similar sites worldwide. For a review, desk copy, or interview request, write to:

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Book Release trailer
Triboulet’s Arrival in Rome
The Geological Vision


The Acolytes
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