The Empire Of Light (1953)
by Rene Magritte

Magritte may be a Surrealist most famous for his drawings of men in bowler hats and pipes but it has always been this painting that strikes me the most. At first glance, there is nothing really odd or surreal about the scene at all, but then the feeling of unease grows the longer one stares at it. There is the fact that the sky is bright and blue and yet the street below seems oblivious to it, it itself is dark and the streetlamp is lit, and so are the windows of the rather grand house. And that streetlamp seems to have a life of its own.

It was quite a challenge to write a story around a scene like this without any people in sight, and so I just decided to make a darkly humorous story about a young woman Carole, to whom surreal things happen and one can never tell if it's all in her mind or not.

Carole is young, single and lives a solitary life in an unnamed city. Unlike my other stories, this one takes place in more recent times. Carole represents what most of us fear; abandonment, broken illusions and a life of meaninglessness.


This story is not available online.



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