Extract from my real-time review HERE.
Foreign Bodies – Michael Marshall Smith
“But half-buried is not enough.”
A lengthy extrapolation on sexual politics between young couples in the mid-nineties – a fascinating period piece in itself when objects were objects, letters letters, books books, and what you did on the computer was word-processing with folders. (I wonder how this story would have panned out with emails.) It also has sharp observations on cigarettes, ladies’ public toilet habits, the default oiling by white lies (cf lies in the Cadigan), manipulators and those manipulated often interchangeable as in Schow and Lethem. But really this story is much much more: adding to this book its own often disturbing and page-turning “ingredients“. A memory’s splinter of glass or ‘diamond dust’, I infer, entering the body’s soul, thus being buried, a life of spasmodic denial. The story’s ”blanking” as another form of burial or denial akin to the earlier relic room, meat safe, burial under sand or garden or (incredibly in the explicit lethal finale of this story) under an actual ”ragged patch of carpet” … and Clegg’s flowers, again explicit as ”dried out flowers“. And Ings’ protagonist’s laconic ‘keeping’ of Alice becomes David’s desperately seeking … who? (14 Mar 12 – two hours later)