Completely batty: Vampire Therapist reviewed

Grade: B+ Looter-shooters, match-three games, dragons and spaceships… Sometimes you despair of video games doing the same thing again and again – and then a lone developer gets a severe bump on the head and produces something completely batty.  Vampire Therapist is a comedic adventure-story therapy-simulation starring a vampire, except he’s also a cowboy, and he’s training to be a cognitive behavioural therapist in the backroom of a German nightclub under the tutelage of a 3,000-year-old bisexual vampire who was romantic with Marcus Aurelius back in the day.  Our hero was a bad vamp in the Wild West for many years, you see, but he fell in with the Transcendentalists

A Danubian Narnia: Nostalgia, by Mircea Cartarescu, reviewed

Mircea Cartarescu likens his native Romania to a Latin American country stranded in eastern Europe. Certainly, his writing delivers not the pared-down parables and ironies of his self-exiled compatriot (and Nobel laureate) Herta Müller, but a rainbow-hued riot of fantasy, imagination and invention. The gender-switching narrator of ‘The Twins’ — one of five linked tales that make up Nostalgia — urges his lover to remember that ‘under the obscene rococo of our world and flesh, our bones are gothic and our spirit is gothic’. That feels about right, although Cartarescu fills his grotesque and hallucinatory scenes with tropical warmth, colour and light on top of the sepulchral chills of old