GESTALT REAL-TIME BOOK REVIEWS
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Alcebiades Diniz Miguel
Lanterns of the Old Night
BleakWarrior – Alistair Rennie
Marked To Die
18 thoughts on “
Lanterns of the Old Night
Dedication includes “THESE FLEETING SHARDS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW”
Luxuriously upholstered book with quality materials, 46 pages, plus two pull-out pages, flame-coloured marker ribbon, all generously designed with much artwork etc, dust jacket, embossed hardback cover and amber endpapers. Gorgeous.
(Pull-out page of print)
“With his whip of fine goat leather in hand, he welcomed his wives with a devastating series of well-aimed blows.”
A pre-deluge scene of cruelty to women and animals, including an inadvertent ark…
Is this the book’s ironic welcome to all social justice warriors or just another initial pull-out page we can all ignore as I did with that in this publisher’s previous published book called ‘Conflagration’ (also with a flame-coloured marker-ribbon)?
“The poison, suitable for suicides such as himself, might be transmuted into a convenient tool for scrying.”
A suicide that would matter, as he matters, both as private and notable public figure, as he cerebrally wanders, entrancingly for us, through the ‘velleities’ of his past impulses of thought and action, all knotted up in that single action subsuming all other actions and as preserved by this book as well as framed for posterity in the place where this book has him about to end what he once was, or still is, by virtue of this text in which he is tantamount to embodied. The poison his black mirror of scrying, like my take on another black mirror
and in ‘Music for Chameleons’.
His moon, my moon
SOME DEAD RATS
“…the ancient art of memory — now as useless as a desk ornament -–”
A resplendent feast, its preening host, its suffered poet-bard – and an outcome of events that is a highly intriguing treatment regarding the nature of retrocausal revenge and foreshadowed fate, as well as memory as a map of BOTH retrocausal and foreshadowed truths and lies as part of that treatment.
“The tar that had surrounded me retreated beyond the bed to the window,…”
A strikingly disturbing description by a man waking into the metamorphosis of illness, vulnerably in others’ hands such as those of his wife and doctor.
I can’t help but treat this as a symbol of my own future treatment.
“But the teachings of the divine ‘Tullius’, though a pagan, consubstantiated the teachings of the Church.”
This portrait of Albertus Magnus and his scholarly (perhaps mis-triangulated) exegesis of the work of Cicero involves a strikingly described Hellish vision in the cathedral. The whole tenor of this piece minds me of the dreamcatching processes of Null Immortalis, a name that contains both Tullis and Tullius. The gestalt of bad and good.
“My life was lived as if in the waters of an aquarium,…”
A text that adeptly FEELS, like in II, as if one is in that situation, having been treated for an illness and put away somewhere by a loved one, feeling older than one remembers ever feeling before, where the other inhabitants of the aquarium or a slow motion film are famous fiction books that you once happened to dreamcatch – like this one is due to become?
A telling blend of the Inquisition against the so-called heresy of Giordano Bruno – and his art of memory as well as memory’s version of old men like us.
“But despite this repetition of actions, which my body still sensed…”
…this recurrence of historic figures and the dying old man, a musical dying-fall vision or the ability to Dreamcatch given to me by Dreamcatchable books like this book, by this patchwork of episodes entitled ‘Some Dead Rats’. I shall remember its fortifications of self when, I too, (very soon!) live life in my own ‘suffocating darkness’ of being nursed towards death.
As well as even the rats that have the right to live, my
THE AGE OF ICE AND GOLD AND MUD
“Thus the intent of the Romanian explorer and his associates was clear, they needed to include the dead bodies in their photos that they might serve as precious hunting trophies displayed as a proof of victory over primitive evil.”
A 17th century Callot that I once had in a book as a child and which I then studied in awe, depicting the hanged ‘fruits’ here used as extrapolative metaphor for a weapon of natural selection and missionarisation and colonisation and exploitation…
The study of the above picture as a child was like that of my study of a painting I happened to have on my boyhood bedroom wall: The Boyhood of SIr Walter Raleigh (
) by Millais.
I similarly point towards the horizon of this well-crafted text and say: find what you will in it and use it for yourself. Listen not to me.
THE DEVIL, ALMOST
“…the scene was silent as if the couple was trapped inside of an aquarium.”
An intriguing historic portrait of a film projector as illusionist, ‘metteur en scène’ … or Devil? Almost an act of self-harm as well as harm to the gullibles whom the projector tricks into making real their make believe.
I keep my own powder dry as to the the rest of this work yet to be read, a text as a trick also, no doubt, that I am spreading over days to prevent its own spreading and to slow down the shuttling of its words into my eyes, to trip up the trick of their becoming too real.
A strikingly adept portrait of the effect of a magic lantern’s moving images upon its critics, involving Jesuits – which in turn had an effect on the moving images themselves.
A virtuous and vicious loop that occurs even now and perpetuated, but also transcended, by this text and by the magic lantern I am using to write my review of it.
A fascinating character study, too, of the projected as well as historical illusionist himself, the one who sits within me, guiding my fingers even now as I write about the image of him conjured by the text that created him or was created by him – or by or in the name of the author on the spine? A light and dark lantern, by turns. Old and new. Day and night.
A shame that all of us look too closely at a text that appears to mirror not our demise — which will be invisible to us — but the events, the treatments, that leap at us in such a present knowing way that disturbs what the author might have been intending to say and that makes us hear somber notes among whatever the music is. We should really rejoice in the song and listen for whatever music we can hear in the present, not the imagination of what may or may not be coming. Sing!
…agreed, Harold, and indeed the current work has that very resonance embodied in its
‘The Devil, Almost’
Death is always almost.
And thus this story’s illusionist or magic-lanternist furthers his art…
“He wanted to add a touch of fear to the spectacle, the kind of effect that lent realism to the best tricks of the stage. He searched his memory for material, thinking back upon the most terrifying and distasteful events in his life;”
And that touch turns out to be a striking passage in this book about a dog and a boy that, for me, amazingly and mutually echoes, complements and supplements a book I have been reading for the last two months and real-time reviewing
(and finished about an hour ago) – FATES OF ANIMALS, Dog as God &c. &c.
Death is always almost. Has been and always will be.
“I similarly point towards the horizon of this well-crafted text and say: find what you will in it and use it for yourself. Listen not to me.”
One more story or work to read.
Isn’t it great that there is always one more to read!
THE EXTINCTION HYMNBOOK
“The ecstasy of killing, once triggered, can hardly be interrupted by the process of reason.”
And ‘killing’ is not the only thing.
‘The Extinction Hymnbook’ is a mighty visionary work, believe me, the apotheosis of ‘The King in Yellow’ and Byron’s ‘Darkness’ poem.
As well as a lantern’s repetitive (“our destiny is repetition”) projection of ‘once hope’, I guess, a version of my own ‘dead monument of once ancient hope’ and the monument above I photographed in 2008. It is also the ‘almost death’ threaded through this whole still meaningfully and meaninglessly growing book, its magic lantern stilled, a perfect storm of stasis as white or black static. The old man, like me, held in a rhapsody of dreamcatching purgatory with great books like this one for company, but now with the perfection of hopelessness as bolstered by a repetition that is ensuring ‘almost’ is finally fulfilled… (Harold Billings wrote above during an earlier restoration-point of this review”: “Isn’t it great that there is always one more to read!”)
“There is no death, not even the hope of permanence or stasis.”
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Fates of the Animals – Padrika Tarrant
Fates of the Animals – Padrika Tarrant
When I real-time review these stories, my comments will appear in the thought stream below,
Bodies of Water by V.H. Leslie
In "Bodies of water"
The Beginning of the End - Ian Parkinson
In "ian parkinson"
The Haunted Sleep of Jonathan Wood
In "ex occidente press"
Conflagration by D.P. Watt
The Felicity of Epigones – Derek John
47 thoughts on “Fates of the Animals – Padrika Tarrant”
THE MUSIC OF THE FOXES
“Now the clipping of a fox’s claws is a lovely thing,…”
The first of what appears to be many vignettes. The language and the evocation are hand in glove. A special language with its own unique quality that no review can reconvey. Clipped poetics then smoothed out like a magic trick, I loved the bit where the vixen walks a zebra crossing.
THE HYACINTH GIRL
“The burningness of drowning; the cough and cough and cough of it.”
I have only read two of these rhapsodic vignettes and I can already tell they are something extremely special. Rarefied and yearning. This is the unrequited stance of the hyacinth girl herself, and with her eyes never shutting this is the perfect contrast with another vignette called ‘Closed Eyelids’, I read elsewhere a few minutes ago, and also
. As regular readers of my Dreamcatchers will know, I am a passionate but passive absorber of synchronicity and serendipity in literature!
From the recurring coughs of drowning, we now reach the relentless barking of a dog…here not only an anguished description via the already dependable expression of strikingly poignant synaesthesia from this author, but also an echo of stories told to me by someone I know who very recently had to live next door to a dog regularly left alone, suffering the sound of its similar sounding suffering, a situation that was eventually resolved as satisfactorily as possible, but one that was in hindsight a haunting metaphor beyond life’s surface meaning, beyond God Himself.
THE LITTLE BOY WHO LIED
“dry as bibles”
He is snapped for snapping….and his snap then mounted with sticky corners, I guess.
Another clipped poetic is delightfully full of words like cracks, pricking, slick, snapped, break, shattered, ripped, shorn, crackle, grate, sharp, edges.
Like a spiky nursery rhyme in prose.
HOW THE DOG LOST HIS WINGS
“Below the dog, the petty affairs of men and creatures,…”
I was wondering whether it is significant that ‘dog’ is God backwards, especially, here, when God later stitches back a rabbit that dog tore into rags.
This book, so far, is an accomplished vision of the ribbons of reality, sliced, then examined by prose poetics, “weightless as razors.”
Due to a family illness, there may be some delay in completing this review.
“; it was the devil of a job, what with the craning of the big hand and the quivering excitement of the little one,”
A provocatively amusing fable where God is depicted as a sort of boozy Heath Robinson, whereby any chance creations (the one here is brilliantly characterised) are, I infer, naturally selected (my expression, not the fable’s) by the more intended creations known as ‘beasts of the field.’
THE HOUSE WARMING
“They pretended to be God;”
God now as a Heath Robinson effectively hatching out filial offshoots like lanky angels grown overnight from boy babies in a box given him by a goatish Satan…
This stopped me in my tracks. This is, after all, not a literary poetic book alone, as I had assumed, but it is also representative of the type of absurdist or horrific stories I often read … as if whatever books I instinctively pick up defiantly hatch out into ones I NEED to read.
PIGEONS IN THE TIME OF PANIC
But this is Norwich, not Paris, I guess – a striking vision of pigeons around a giant rocking horse in Anglia Square and vandal fire, that may not be Norwich today. I remember as a child a slowly twirling knight on a horse with a flag saying Anglia…
“God’s forgiveness was raining through the roof, dry as a sucked hymn book…”
These texts have some of the most wonderful turns of phrase. This one is a sense of a boy’s out-of-body experience in tune with a lost or dead pigeon now found flight again, and, also in tune with the previous text, soaring above the headmaster with his arms outstretched like an umbrellas while he scolds the pupils at Assembly. Well characterised and full of more sharp things and coughing.
DOG’S NIGHTMARE I
“…but in his dream, dog was as vile as a monster.”
That is his own dream…
When I started this book, I didn’t know what to expect, but I didn’t expect a work that matches and equals the type of hyper-literature to which you are accustomed being cohered by me hopefully into a gestalt from its various leitmotifs. I still do not know where this particular gestalt is heading, but the above vignette constructively reminds me of
“…the test card girl smiling secretly with her clown.”
….knowing that birth and death are voracious, and reincarnation, too, monstrously on both sides of the fridge door.
Archie (Andrews) was not a clown but a ventriloquist dummy…. That is, probably unintentionally, relevant to this memorable vignette.
AFTER IT RAINED
“God’s kitchen was growing vague with smoke. In time, a whiff of fire came crawling out of the cremated beans, ran its tongue along the greasy workshop, and sidled up to the oven glove.”
Rag tag and dogtail after the deluge, from an ark with a bark, I guess. Escapist God despairs at what he can’t control…
This chaotic fable with no moral in sight.
“The garden was as lush as cancer,…”
An effectively disturbing vignette of Rebecca and her mother subjected to an exponentially accretive plague of scissors. This book’s sharp things again. Like Meloy crocodiles?
“I tried to remember what she looked like, how she had been.”
For me, an intensely poignant, and currently perfect thing to read, bearing in mind my own maternal bereavement a week or two ago. I can’t pretend to know how, but since that event the normal course of my pre-listed and simultaneous real-time book reviews have been full of such a loss.
“Tenderly coaxed by knives,…”
Meat in the opposite direction of this review’s gathering of a living gestalt from leitmotifs, meat being cut into separate living pieces, more living than the original animal whence they’re cut.
As gloriously gory as this book CREEPING WAVES
, a book that resembles FATES OF THE ANIMALS by dint of its rare methods if not by its intrinsic subject-matter.
another soulmate book.
“…line of poetry that makes your life make sense.”
And that is itself such a deceptive line within its prose shell, a shell that is an unmissable nightmarish vision of the Cheshire Cat.
INSTRUCTIONS (FOR A GAME)
“nothing and nothing”
Follow these instructions at your peril.
Yet another book I am concurrently reviewing that has similar series of vignettes being drawn gradually into a gestalt:
If you have ever thought about the nature of angels, then you should read this.
Suddenly, as a child, growing out of Santa Claus is an experience that diminishes to nothing in comparison to this remarkable low-down on Angels.
Fates of Angels.
DOG FINDS OUT WHERE KNIVES COME FROM
A couple of paragraphs that evocatively chime with one of the main leitmotifs of this book. The title also chimes with my comments yesterday about the cruel nature of growing up when discovering Santa Claus does not exist – or the place where babies come from?
A truly striking visit to Starbucks.
And the nature of madness from within or from without?
As a brief encounter or a long memory of a brief encounter.
Waiting for the next pigeon post piggy-backed by a gull?
DOG’S NIGHTMARE II
“corner to corner”
Coughs and corners, I wonder when Dog wakes he finds himself to be God, and vice versa?
“He has a hangnail; he puts his cup down with a slop and he digs his teeth at it, catches the edge in his mouth and rips it away. A small bubble of blood gathers at the quick…”
The quick and the dead?
A rook is a trusty tester of guilt and knows what he has done, whom he has killed.
A ‘padrika’ in a parallel universe is a word for that type of hangnail, I suggest.
“I used to have a name, you know;”
Dog like God, so Rats like Star?
More sharp things, coughs, and cutlery.
DE LA VIANDE
“There was a tiny intake of collective breath as the lid was lifted.”
Imagine a meal brought in by a chef, one that is worthy of applause. And a surprised gasp, too.
I feel much the same about this ‘De La Viande’ section itself.
“My daughter slipped through my life like a ghost, like the half-seen reflection of some other child.”
A daughter named Victoria.
A slipping through, too, like a hot spoon through lard or forks of water streaking the window?
This is exquisite material, and ends with locks being pecked out.
It is tantalisingly difficult to form a gestalt from this book so far, because each section as you read it tends to make the others become part of their own form of The Disappearing in evanescence,
MAGPIE FALLS IN LOVE
“So he rummaged through his own left wing, felt the quills as sharp as drinking straws,…”
I think it should be an owl that woos, but here a magpie woos the beautiful young girl, a sad, eventually hopeless, unrequitedness of love, till a tweet tweet breaks the self-mutilated silence.
THE ORGAN PRESS
You will NEVER forget this portrait of wild flowers pressed into a medical textbook.
If you read nothing else in this book, read this.
Like a shampoo advert or this review!
More nefarious angels to witness a woman’s well-characterised mishaps.
AFTER VAN GOGH
I suggest there is more poetry in this prose about your birth than in any poetry.
THE BLACK WOOD
A very touching vision of inside a large Tesco supermarket in the small hours of the morning, a sense of responsibility for the till girl. A black wood with crows that it becomes around the various shelves of food. It is a staggering vision to read. This book gets better and better – if that were possible.
A truly devastating portrait of a daughter as imaginary companion or imp of the perverse to her mother OR the mother has Alzheimer’s thus making both or one of them effectively FEEL imaginary.
Dog or TV, notwithstanding.
A portrait of Satan’s Daughter.
As engaging and well-intentioned as this book she is in.
TEST CARD F
This is genuinely one of the most frightening short shorts I have ever read.
“The lino in the kitchen was hard; I felt safer there.”
A vivid account of sinking into everything.
A compelling book is often said to to build and build – this one is also compelling by appearing somehow to unbuild and unbuild.
SOME LAST REQUESTS
“Let’s go all avant-garde!”
Imagine death of oneself as an extrapolated corpse of a magpie?
Perhaps this is the turning-point where the book starts building again instead of unbuilding?
An accretive birth – false alarm or rebirth? Truth or mirage!
Whichever, the description is like a breaking skull and melting foam…
HERE, EVERYTHING IS STILL FLOATING
“; hear your moments sheared off one by one.”
This book seems to be a vision of cut and paste.Scissors, rock and sodden paper.
ANTI-CLIMAX (OR THE END OF A GAME)
“swills in spirals, sinking very slowly.”
“witness to the shining of puddles”
Witness, or wetness? Cf my concurrent review of a puddle here:
“but the fates take pity”
This short piece might ironically be the climax of this book?
It seems to be some sort of telling summary?
Several sections yet to read, though.
THE OPPOSITE OF FALLING
The suitcase man as a symbol of today’s Brexit.
“It has been filled to its oblong skin with metal things: knives and forks, bagsful of nuts and bolts. […] It is, was, ballast, it tethered him to the ground like the opposites of wings. Now he is ready to die, to lift forever from the earth, to find the place where even the angels would suffocate,…”
“His rockers are broken. He does not mind.”
Of more substantive size, this alternating, rocking to and fro of dual eras, surrounding the extraction of a lilac, deserves at least consideration for best short story of 2015.
Dual fates, too,
THREE CHILDREN ARE MENACED BY A NIGHTINGALE (AFTER ERNST)
A menacing story of nightingales taking the ‘singingness’ of our children to give to their own young. Before Ernst, with a chicken twist and a palimpsest of sound.
AT THE SHOW TRIAL
“The blue deer stretches out his voice at the air between the branches, wet as blackness, thinner than thinking. Hummingbirds flit like wild ideas, counter-notes to the sky’s gigantic pulse.”
If you think that is a truly great opening to a vignette, imagine what it is like when the whole vignette builds and builds beyond that.
WINTER AT HOME
A very moving piece, especially for me perhaps because I lost my mother while reading this book.
It is also the fructification and desiccation by sharp things, here the combined harvesting of icicles and eternal hibernation by ice, paradoxically blended, as the produce of my own approaching winter at home.
“Rosa stood back and gazed upon the face of God. His great cropped head was prickly with hair the colour of fibreglass."
Sounds like me!
This the story of God’s cleaner named Rosa, the cleaner with Dyson of God’s house outside of which there are are always pickets. Sounds like a metaphor for today in Brexit Britain – a land founded while I have been reading this remarkable book.
Sounds, too, like a ‘dying fall’ coda for the whole symphony of words. A holiday as an ending.
God, Dog, Pigeons, sharp cutlery, provocative visions in a startlingly unique poetic style that is literally unmissable, because if you miss it you are no longer you. And more.
And, oh yes, Angels one of whom eventually the cleaner herself becomes, no longer Sub Rosa.
Sounds like phonemes and morphemes clicking and clacking on a Van Gogh roof.
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