Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nemonymous Night

Nemonymous Night

I thought it was high time, distant time, to give some real-time dreamcatching objectivity to ‘Nemonymous Night’, a novel that was drafted piecemeal in public during 2005/6 and revised by me for publication with Chomu Press in 2011 (my first and last novel)… 
This possibly self-indulgent approach matches my past  ‘Director’s Commentaries’ to these books:
CERN Zoo – the original DFL ‘Editor’s Commentary’
Null Immortalis – the Editor’s Commentary 
The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies – Editor’s Commentary
“Real-Time Review of ‘Weirdmonger’ by DF Lewis” by DF Lewis
Horror Without Victims – An Editor’s Commentary
My previous reviews of Chomu Press books are linked from HERE.
A previous independent real-time review of ‘Nemonymous Night’ HERE.
My real-time commentary will appear in the comment stream below as and when I re-read this book.

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32 responses to “Nemonymous Night

  1. I think this novel has suffered because of comments like:
    “Nemonymous Night is not an easy read; however—and here’s the rub—it’s entirely readable. If you got through Dylan’s Tarantula and thought it was a seamless masterpiece and that Beckett’s The Unnamable is a bit light for your tastes, then by all  means, give this one a try.” NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS
    Even its own publisher once tweeted: “Give Nemonymous Night a try, if you think you’re hard enough.”
    There’s nothing hard about NN. You’re just being hard on yourself. I shall try to prove that….

    Pages 1 – 22

    ” And if anything is deemed unimagined or unimaginary or unimaginable then it is incapable of existing in fiction, fantasy or dream – but merely in real life.”
    Starts with a carpet and finding’s one feet. It’s like going up and down in a lift, soon to be known as hawling, as you go through each floor towards the Earth’s Core where Jules Verne waits to take you on a guided tour. The trouble is that you’ve got to know who you are and clarify your relationships with others first before taking such a journey. And the characters here are just doing that. It takes time to do that in real life, so why not in a novel? Parts of me turn up, like entertaining clients at a classical concert. Parts of you turn up, too, whoever you are. Are any of your children bewitched?

  3. Pages 22 – 39
    “His CV had let him down however and allowed someone else (similar to him) through the back door, leaving Mike with a destiny he would not normally have chosen.”
    This is a bit like navigating this book, I have just found. I think any reader has got to forget the characters are having dreams (later called dream sickness) but the book itself is giving YOU dream sickness instead. Just try to keep hold of the central ‘objective correlatives’ as if they are rafts and you will soon be rescued by a narrative undream of a helicopter. Those rafts so far: a covered market, an exploding bus, a seedy upstairs flat, a backstreet pub, a city dry-dock…
    Another narrative raft: Meanwhile, like you, the characters are gradually sorting themselves out into who they are and are gathering in the pub before setting out to search for two missing children.

  4. Pages 39 – 53
    “Nobody realised this was an otherwise empty enclosure for insects. They wanted to see big things in a zoo.”
    These pages contain a long description of this book’s zoo, where dreams are possible but you know they are dreams, unlike in the rest of the city. This book is more like its city than its zoo. This can be compared with my belief that Area X is not the Area X described in the book entitled AREA X but is that book itself. (My review of AREA X is here).

  5. Pages 53 – 69
    “Novels get you nowhere.”
    Literature is all there is. Books like this one that navigates toward the centre of the earth, the earth being the place you stand on, crowded with a grasping of things you believe one day, disbelieve the next, or things that grasp you, you as children, later you as someone else who uses a dream as an excuse to do bad things. This section has the scene from the book’s front cover, except it’s a greensward or park, not a beach. And they’re not really kites, except they appeared like kites at first rather than the flying craft they eventually became. So this cover is the glimpse of a dream rather than its eventual reality. The book is its own dry dock. But when you close the book, you have nothing but yourself and that cover. Novels get you nowhere. Novels get you everywhere. An open and shut case.

  6. Pages 69 – 85
    Two parties are seeking the missing ‘children’ (‘children’ escaping or being enticed to some form of Isis-state toward the Earth’s Core?); one party seeking them down manholes North of Man City and another party is destined to seek them via a Jules Verne Tour below ground, via various surfaces of carpet stone and inner worlds as words. Some descriptions here that I had completely forgotten, and implications not realised before, some via playlets of dialogue and some by fibrously Yellow computer webs on screens. Quite an experience to re-read this book; it is as if I never once wrote it. Honestly, that’s how it feels. And I now wonder if the normal accretive emergence of self and relationships to others as a human baby (that we all once experienced) has now been transferred, by this book, to the whole duration of each human life into our adulthoods and beyond.I have just been reminded by the NN text that Hawler is a town in Kurdistan, aka Erbil, quite close to the Isis threat today, years after I wrote NN. I also note that one of the ‘children’ being enticed is named Sudra… And later appearance of Hataz and Tho.

    • PAGE 82:
      “The western airport area – now overgrown like a long-forgotten golf course – reminded him of another derelict airport he had seen on the web as part of his dream research. This one was in a place called Hawler – where was it? – in Kurdistan? Whether the city airports were connected with this middle eastern one in some way was uncertain, yet Ogdon believed in complementary ley-lines veining the whole surface of the earth, proud as inflamed swellings on a human body … invisible to most uncaring eyes as the eyes’ owners conducted their selfish lives on a daily basis, lives only interspersed with sleep or with whatever sleep contained.
      Ogdon reviewed his own dreams. The fiction could wait, as he shut down the sickly clouded crystal-ball of his yellow screen.”

  7. Pages 85 – 101
    The two ever-regrouping parties of characters interweave the start of their respective journeys to the Earth’s Core, one party in a land of Redoubts similar to Hodgson’s Night Land, the other towards a beach area down south where the helicopter-vaned Drill is set to penetrate the ground with them on board and with the promise of daylight fireworks to celebrate their departure. In fact, the scene from the book’s front cover may, on second thoughts, be based on this section rather than the one I identified earlier. Or I may have been telling lies. But reviewers can’t tell lies. They just say what they think and who can argue with that?

  8. Pages 101 – 109
    I have shown the whole text of these pages HERE, as I feel it is a crucial passage for any reader, up to this point, who is still without his or her own personal narrative raft!

  9. Pages 109 – 125
    Another crucial section here regarding the dual quests, the slippery identities involved, the conspiracies back in Man City regarding the angel wine and Angevin being harvested at the Core, despite its as yet nameless Corekeepr… And a sort of fairy story concerning the young girl or young woman named Sudra who is taking on a more prominent role as enticed and enticer.
    And a silent curtain runner from Twin Peaks!

  10. Pages 125 – 148
    ” Dreams leak, books leak.”
    I shall never forget the first time when writing about the Drill craft emerging, at least for a short while, from threading earth’s slabs and rocks, to an open sky where the Core is a new sun. The most wonderful scene in all Literature? Well, I shall never know, because nobody has said one way or another.
    On the objective face of it, there is nothing quite like this novel. Nothing even near it. But that doesn’t make it good.
    I have now finished re-reading it until the end of the ‘Nemonymous Navigation’ section. There may well now be a necessary interlude, while I go into Dry Dock myself, before I resume this ‘review’.

    Pages 149 – 161

    “Perhaps the carpet was not quite so ordinary, after all. / I shall remain nameless, as is fitting.”
    Reading this afresh, there is something intriguingly déjà-vu about this opening of ‘Nemonymous Night’, tantalisingly skewed and obliquely matching what went before. Like the blending of various varieties of meat and poultry, and the act of hawling itself. The gentle shifting of relationships, evolving like the relationship of Amy and Sudra. To be quite frank, this book is much better than how I remember it. But that, of course, does not mean it is any good! Only a book like this one could possibly elicit such a straight-faced comment from its author. Solely independent readers can truly judge and, based on the sparse reaction over the last few years, the jury is still out!

  12. Pages 161 – 178
    A stop-off for Captain Nemo’s Drill in Klaxon City where its passengers witness Sunne-Stead and where the distant Sunne is the Earth’s Core whither they are eventually to reach. Got it? Don’t go there! And I haven’t even to told you about the marigold-window, the pylons with tethered spacecrafts, or, amid the other party elsewhere in their journey to the Core, the developing relationship of Amy and Sudra, plus Arthur’s non-matching ears. It all makes sense when you read it and let it flow over and into you willy nilly.

  13. Pages 178 – 190
    “The ultimate suicide by architecture. But that is déjà-vu history of sorts and only has bearing on itself. History of history. History hugging the same history, without reality to come between their embrace. His story. My story. Nostory.”
    One of the Two Towers spearing the other. As well as a battle of history versus history, here we have two characters each writing a novel, a battle of novels, one wanting a happy ending, the other not. Insect meat. And a bomb in the Moorish part of the city. Skies and worlds above one another, fighting to reach the multiple cores. Man City itself descending to attack other cities. Or am I getting ahead of myself, having read this book before? I hope you can treat this review with the sangfroid sense of humour it invites.

  14. Pages 190 – 209
    “If everything is to have a happy ending, then we need to tell someone that it is we instinctive women (soft and hard alike) who must win – who must reach out to the Core where there are no dreams at all, no confusions of truth and lie, we women who must reach out to the Core where (when we are within it) we’ll know what is true and what is false – finally and clearly and undeniably. We are just biding our time, Ladies.”
    There pages contain more passages of disarming déjà-vu, and trial consolidations of character, as the two separate parties continue their ways to the Core. Plus a long passage concerning a couple named Tho and Hataz who struggle with their relationship while, now I read them afresh, interspersed with striking descriptions of a certain frightening nature of dreaming that Tho has been having. Not dream sickness so much as dream separated by skin. These new characters are sure to be met again.

    • Extract from my private email to a writing colleague and friend today:
      “I hadn’t consciously thought that NN was connected with my Core Mythos (c 1968) but I suppose it must be. It is a very strange book (strange even to me!) (many aspects of which I suspect you might not enjoy – or you might?) surrounding a sort of Jules-Verneian journey to the Earth’s Core, involving conspiracy, identity, smuggling, religion, eschatology, Lovecraftian things (you know what that means!), and, now, it seems, gender issues possibly akin to Warriors of Love that I had not noticed before. In fact, I see something new every time I read NN. It is *the* Intentional Fallacy novel, I guess, and published too early for this world. Or too late?”
      Or plainly not good enough for the world? – I should have added at the end there. A novel that was first drafted in 2005 and published by Chomu Press in 2011.

  15. Pages 209 – 225
    “‘How can you go overland to the centre of the earth, Mummy?’ / ‘By tricking, my dear … by tricking the Above and the Below and the Across.'”
    There is a death of one of the characters in this section. The circumstances and which character I will not divulge for fear of spoilers.
    Later, almost simultaneously, the two parties reach Agra Aska which is the nearest city to the Core, with its straddling cathedral and other visionary aspects (aspects recalling the previous novella ‘Agra Aska’ that I wrote in 1984 and was first published in 1998).

  16. Pages 225 – 256
    “There had been no welcoming between the two parties when we all started to interact within the room. Our meeting up in such strange circumstances was taken for granted and we started conversations as if we were finishing them.”
    This in the antechamber before the characters finally arrive at the Core and see its Corekeeper. This meeting of the two parties seems to involve a type of TV Reality Game. But they soon leave towards the Core and there follows what is the astonishing (yes, even astonishing to me) climax of this ‘Nemonymous Night’ section, a climax which might strike you as the natural climax of the whole book. But I have at least another third of the book’s pages still to reread and comment upon!

    Pages 257 – 276

    It is as if the book NN has gone into a different gear, more crazy or complex, but paradoxically more sane and graspable? Greg and Beth (originally from Clacton) travel to the inner world’s version of Klaxon City, where sirens wail, Bird Flew rages, with Healing Chambers and Lethal (Robert W?) Chambers…. This is the same Greg and Beth who once visited the Core with Mike, Susan et al and it is here explained how they are again travelling toward the core as if they have never visited it before. And a stub of pencil is again annotating the text, but more often than before, reminiscent of my marginalia pencil that I have used when Dreamcatching books in the more recent years since I wrote NN wherein this stub of pencil first appeared.

    • There are 380 pages in this novel. So there are another 100 pages left in this ‘Apocryphal Coda’ and still much else for me to say before this real-time review finishes, at which point I can rest. Do join in with sub-comments if you wish.
      Stub of Pencil entry on Page 276 of first edition of NN as an example: HERE.

  18. Pages 277 – 286
    “…aimed the ‘pen-torch’ beam of sound towards the most obtrusive of the rooted feathers and seared hard at its clawhold for some hours, as Greg watched the surrounding flesh sizzle and then melt away from the column of healing key-hole sound. Eventually, the surgeon could yank the the feather-spindle from its tenacious grip…”
    Things get very much like that in the novel, too, I guess. Yanking meaning from the vexed texture of text. Plus existential arguments with self in a mirror. Greg and Greg Flew. You would have read nothing else like this novel. Feel glad that you escaped it and only read this authorial commentary upon it.

  19. Pages 287 – 303
    We find Sudra again, now a beautiful woman, running a shop – Sudra’s Shoes – in Klaxon City. Or is it a museum? Wars always bring confusion. But, wait, here comes the WEIRDMONGER, literal soothsayer, for the first time in this book, cinematically across the mudparks, to visit Sudra’s Museum and Sudra herself. The reader as ‘onlooker’ of possibly the most striking vision so far, and that, is saying a lot. Or a little. Written via a text to die for.

    • Based on all the evidence, I invented the word ‘Weirdmonger’ with my story of that name published in 1988. I note some unknown organisation recently bought the domain and is about to produce a website. This domain was owned on my behalf by Garry Nurrish from 2001 until, I think, around 2010.
      Based on all the evidence, too, I invented the word ‘Nemonymous’ in 2001 and has belonged to me from then and is in my name until at least 2017.

  20. From page 303:
    Sudra was in her bedroom of the shoe museum listening to the newly prepared armies march-running towards war through the cutaways of Klaxon – measuring the pavy-crazed sluices between the lobes with the rhythmic onward march of their medium-pace limbs in running mode as opposed to any standard patterned walk. March-running is a forgotten art. Neat ranks of soldiers (mostly female), these were, keeping perfect pace with each other at the run, rather than the lift-and-separate of slow-motion goose-step or slightly quicker frog-march or general English slow marchpast for Trooping the Colour or Remembrance Sunday. Memories of Things Past – a hypnotic echoing march-run as the various sections of army proceeded – half in and half out of Sudra’s dreamtime perception of them from her bedroom window – towards their billets in the various establishments of darkening Klaxon.

  21. Pages 303 – 318
    “It was like imagining one was in a dream simply for the sake of haunting oneself with it. A means to extend life. Wars often caused similar mentalities of false dreaming.”
    Arguably, some of my syrupiest prose, as the Weirdmonger with his word-truth mythos of catch-ball and Wagger Market continues to haunt Sudra. As does Lope, too, who, give him his due, tries to balance constructive reality against such confusions.
    “Lope: Turkey-halting, I call it. / Sudra: Why? / Lope: Well Turkey is both a bird and a country. / Sudra: Yes, but how many times is the globe melting – making all countries one?”

  22. Pages 318 – 324
    Amy and Arthur seem to be settling their identities as brother and sister, as we learn of a revelatory incident in their childhood that we had only half-seen before. And an astonishing experience for me as I realise for the first time the derivation of ‘dreamcatcher’ as a catch-all for my gestalt real-time reviewing of books as well as ‘the tenacity of feathers’, with the passage following this quote: “The Weirdmonger – upon his now legendary rite of passage through Klaxon’s peripheral mudparks – came across a dreamcatcher hanging in the sky.”

  23. Pages 324 – 340
    “It is an unrecorded fact that THE HAWLER (with its index number of H5N1 now visible for the first time from the direction of any observers) stayed over at Whofage on route between Klaxon and, eventually, one hoped, the Megazanthine Core near Agraska.”
    A new area of Inner Earth: Whofage, about which Greg will write a separate novel concerning his adventures there before he reached his Core Communion itself. There now follows an absorbingly sporadic speech as brainstorming, personal to ‘Nemonymous Night’ itself, a digression upon the explicit expression ‘Null Immortalis’ and the healing powers of fiction, even to the extent of this very novel keeping our world safe from Avian Flu ever since, inferentially, its altruistic publication by Chomu Press in 2011. Mike’s happy ending to his novel, rather than Ogdon’s unhappy one to his?
    “Beth did buy one ‘dreamcatcher’ to hang in her cabin in the Drill.”

  24. Pages 340 – 351
    : “The method of fiction in ‘Nemonymous Night’. Like trying to crawl through a long horizontal hedge. It’s easier than you thought. Coming out at the end of the hedge – find oneself lodged on a cliff-face. No way forward. Yet, the hedge going backwards has turned itself against you. More nettles. More spiky obtrusions pointing in the wrong direction… ”
    There follows a train journey through Inner Earth – strangely visualised – with Greg and Beth and their two children, Amy and Arthur. A Poliakoff type anxiety with the train still steaming at Whofage ‘station’ as they explore the city before hoping to re-board it before it leaves for Agraska and the Core.
    Meanwhile, there are two quotes friom the text that seem premonitorily significant to many earlier comments such as Hawler being an alternative name for Erbil, and the current Isis situation and radicalisation…
    ”The Art of Fiction needs, therefore, to progress towards a stricter and more verifiable account of what happened or what will happen in the final war between humanity and a terrible foe and, subsequently, by extrapolation, to become a means to the end of neutralising the results of that very war.”
    “Gradually, however, queries began to crop up as to whether its initial appearance as a malignancy represented in effect a benign force in disguise. One that fought on humanity’s behalf. Then, with even more powers of creative meaning and truth, it was proposed that the force inhabiting the Core had not started its life there but had always existed as a generally migrating form in a wider universe … but then it was plucked from its otherwise slow and self-occupied passage through space-time and transported to the Core – perhaps accidentally – by a means of public transport invented by humanity.”

  25. Page 353-354
    “Once upon a time – their mother had begun by telling them – there was a country where people could not judge between the state of dreaming and that of experiencing real things while awake. A girl called Sudra lived in that country. Not a country of the blind, but a country of dream uncertainty. Sudra loved the new shoes that she had been given for Christmas. But how could she be sure they were new enough? Or even shoes at all in such a world? She decided to visit the wisest man in the country who happened to live in the same village as Sudra and her family. This man told her the shoes were not only new, but also real. She was relieved – at first. Until she worried if the wisest man in the country was a dream himself. Why would the wisest man in the country happen to live in the same village as Sudra? But he had to live somewhere. He had even claimed he was the wisest man in the whole world, not just the wisest man in this particular country. Did this claim not prove he was lying, and, if lying, did not the probability of this being a dream increase considerably? Or lessen? Sudra didn’t know where to turn. The shoes were strange shoes since at the front and back of each one were little bells. And they were yellow shoes. Her parents said this would help them find her, should she get lost. But Sudra had never seen shoes like them before in the country where she lived. They must have been specially made. And the family was so poor how could they have afforded such bespoke shoes? She decided to test out the reality of her current thoughts by unthinking them. People got over deaths by unthinking them. They got over grief and pain simply by unthinking them. Yet she still smelled the countryside that surrounded the house, she still smelled all the common and customary smells of the house itself … and even with her eyes closed as she concentrated on unthinking all her doubts, the smell of the smells continued to smell around her. And when the parents entered the room to find her, she had vanished! Only the shoes remained, sitting silently on the yellow carpet.”

  26. Pages 351 – 380
    “The real frighteners, however, would come when the little boy stopped dreaming.”
    The closing sections of this book cover Greg and his family continuing a seemingly endless break in Whofage from the train journey. Did they ever reach the Core as the first half of this book portrayed? Who finally is the Corekeeper? What is the final significance, if any, of this extremely (provide your own adjective here) book? Also there is another speech or digression, one that seems to support my earlier contention above that this book — although, here, in this speech, depicting a conveyance of babies becoming selves, then as children developing in a speeded up fashion rather than a slowed down one –,tries to slow that process down again, to give us back our pre-Internet humanity. I hope you agree.
    Also in these closing pages, we have a series of passages or stories that form a quilted coda to this book, disarmingly oblique.
    “Tricking the Above, the Below and the Across.”
    “They all had names, but none knew any but their own. So, when one of them was accidentally lost in the dark, the others wondered what to call out.”
  27. “One day, the absurdity of it all might make them laugh out loud. But, by then, they would have forgotten what laughter might accomplish.”

Rupetta - N.A. Sulway

Rupetta – N.A. Sulway

RUPETTA by N.A. Sulway
Tartarus Press 2013/14
My previous reviews of Tartarus Press books HERE
I intend my real-time review of this book to appear in the comment stream below as and when I happen to read it…

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16 responses to “Rupetta – N.A. Sulway

  1. I have this afternoon just finished, not a full-scale dreamcatcher review, but a gradual series of real-time notes (here) upon my reading of ‘The Bone Clocks’ by David Mitchell. I have now only so far read the Foreword of this Sulway novel just purchased from the publisher, and I am already entranced, but I feel a similar approach would be appropriate, a journey in slow stages through time – like that of the ‘creation’ of Holly in the Mitchell novel, I wonder? I sense the other readers of Sulway in their cabins around me as our ship sets sail…

  2. THE MIRACLE OF CONSCIOUSNESS: Languedoc: November 11th, 1619
    “…that the sun and moon of her wider world, and the circulation of her blood and breath, were organic clocks marking out the passage of her life.”
    I think I already know that I have, with my starting this novel today, hit upon an astonishing work of literature. I have just been held spellbound for, say, half an hour, with 17 pages of what I can only call a feminine Cyborg Proust emerging, in a form of servanted Combray, as a consciousness to her maker, a maker equally feminine and straining between death and life, by giving birth, fleshly, too. A sheer straining toward the Null Immortalis itself. A Pinnocchio Frankenstein? But all that may give the wrong impression. She (Rupetta) addresses someone called Henri… I must not read this book quickly, but simply let it dwell, take its own time with me.

  3. Henri’s Story: Part One
    “…hoping for synchronicity. Sometimes, she said, demonstrating while she spoke, she opened the references pages at the end of a book she had liked and closed her eyes, dropped a finger onto the page and went searching for whatever it had landed on. Steeplechase reading, she called it.”
    I simply couldn’t resist reading more of the book this evening. And I have been further enticed by that sense of real-time dreamcatching book reviews, as I have done since 2008, containing ‘the efficacy of luck” as well as ‘an ideology of coincidence’. A sense of ambitious historianism for our Henri heroine and its learned disciplines or penitent disciples. Perfect expression, for me, of an ungraspable as well as a practical critiquing, plus a wonderful sense of the tiered studious library, Peakean and carrel-ful stacks, their down as well as the haunting vista from their up, the gazing below upon someone I might grow to love, as I sense the approach of another sensibility that I recognise as a Sapphic (here Rupettan) ‘Warriors of Love’ or similar future history, as our Henri heroine here – paralleling (later converging with?) the Rupetta thread in the previous section – watches others fussing around with poultices and teas. All steeped somehow with creatures that have real as well as clockwork parts. Absolutely gorgeous material, just up my personal literary street. Must slow down, though, and savour, sip a retrocausal Proustian infusion. Must shorten my notes, too, and not despoil the plot.

  4. THE MIRACLE OF SILENCE: Languedoc: 1726 – 1826
    Henri’s Story: Part Two

    “However sad it is when something dies, it is sadder still when it should and doesn’t.”
    I am beginning satisfyingly to absorb these two accreting channels of narrative, how they interconnect, as if one depends on the other for symbiotic Wynding, a Religion of some form that passes through various stages of Miracle or Epiphany, to be kept wound up like the clockwork bird that links the two channels, to be kept winding along with the text’s musically meticulous detail of nature and emotion plus a philosophy of history (involving competing heretics and penitents, amid a Rupettan dynasty of time), a history that is not dry but lives and breathes on the page with an equalising yearning for sprung death and life – and a Proustian unrequited love, whereby Henri’s long-term pre-vision of her own she-on-she with Miri culminates in their own daughter? By gynogenesis as in the ‘Warriors of Love’ duodecology of novels, I wonder? Or by some form of Rupettan Wynding via this text’s careful proto-Toynbeean history? ‘Sleeping with History.’ A Philosophy of History that seems somehow to match my own Dreamcatching of Books. But that’s just me.

  5. THE MIRACLE OF TEARS: Languedoc: 1826
    “…when truth and history were parted.”
    There is almost something of a tantalisingly slight springing-up of sexuality within the chest in the Wynding process, as what I call Rupetta’s Null Immortalis is stirred by the arrival of a new Wynder, one with betrayals and betrayings as part of her own backstory before a achingly slow-fire re-smouldering of Rupetta’s awakening. So beautifully conveyed. A rhapsodic feel to the prose, but suspicions of shifting harsher realities beneath such a rhapsody, as Rupetta speaks or writes this narrative to Henri along the dual channels of time toward, I guess, future convergence. The Wynding of Rupetta has that slight sense of sexuality in contrast to the dry clicking of a toy’s Wynding… I feel I need to tantalise this paper text more than any other book’s text I have reviewed with my pencil I use for appending marginalia.

  6. Henri’s Story: Part Three
    “At lunchtime they all sat out on the deck, sipping tea and watching the students move around on the ground far below…”
    We are all ants upon the ground of history? I am learning more and more of the challenge-and-response of this book’s Toynbeean history, couched in an exquisite texture of text, each challenge rejectable, like a transplanted heart, by the next response, with Henri’s studious research into Hereticism and Penitence as two-way filters you cannot avoid absorbing in either direction of challenge. The way flesh can reject is devastatingly described. An internal horror story. Meanwhile, physical love, even more than emotional, between two individuals, is ostensibly wonderful, seeking to enter the other person as a form of self-immolation or nullimmortalis – but with either individual potentially rejectable? And Henri’s only now absorbed backstory regarding her mother perhaps lends ominous weight to the “bright, sharp kick of love binding us together.”

    The Rupetta phenomenon is not a myth although here it teems with textual fairy-tale mythism, as we balance retribution with harmony and a whole panoply of conspiracy and a game of deadly chess using legends as pieces… Thus, this section resonates with a sensibility more real than fantasy, as if a religion through fiction has materialised like those legend-pieces standing up as more than simply holograms, or so I, as reader, help the author to create them in my reading room where I see them appear upon each paper page. We all do, as readers. But without the author, we ourselves would be nothing, our chests empty, or so I imagine.

  8. Henri’s Story: Part Four
    “About Oikos? Yes, of course, but the stuff in those boxes is mostly personal stuff that’s meaningful only to the person who owned it, or cultural Historians, which isn’t really my field: recipes, gardening notes, packets of seeds. Amateur poetry. School recital programs. Local newsletters.”
    History depends on primary sources and archives for its provenance, and I feel history here is seen through the retrocausal prism of Proust and teacups. Here ‘objective correlatives’ have artfully become ‘textured’ domestic objects, and there are aptly domestic family scenes in this section, a family illness, and a direct but now domestic parallel with the board game in the previous section. Henri has now been further opened to the ‘seduction’ of History research and thus, we feel, to Hereticism… And a heretical Isle of Oikos, via these ‘objective correlatives’ with which people lived there, perhaps now abandoned, resonates with my recent experience of the nature of another possibly heretically abandoned land called Area X.

    “And death, resting inside her like a maggot. Her fragile heart and the virus within it wedding its frailty to my own.”
    Rupetta’s own (sometimes direct, sometimes imputed) narration of the lineage or linkage of her enprosed Miracle Plays continues, by synchronised shards of random truth and fiction, telling of her own mythising, via the Fourfold Rupettan Law’s convening of death and life along those lines or links (healthy and sickly alike) of those that uphold this Wynding of the Wynding nullimmortalis in the Penitent Heart. Here, in this section, I sense a momentous cusp in that lineage or linkage that is later studied and researched by Henri.
    RUPETTA is the first book that has satisfactorily, if obliquely, explained the expression Null Immortalis for me. Meanwhile, some may see this work as a steampunk fantasy, but I see it more as splendidly deriving from the textured Weird Literature tradition of those exponents of the Zagava Cycle of Books. But I have still far to go in reading it.
    There may now be a necessary interlude in my dreamcatching of it.

  10. Henri’s Story: Part Five
    “I had had trouble sleeping, heard in my half-dreams the toll of my mother’s and my father’s bells in the garden, his death’s heart chiming above his grave like an angry, chittering clock while hers prettied the hours away.”

    Amid the plangent and rhapsodic prose with which this book has addicted us, there are now elements of recrimination or disappointment for Henri, which we all sometimes feel for loved ones, I guess. In this connection, I wonder if the new arrival of a small girl called Perdita via the offices of the flightless clockwork bird is a destruction of my earlier gynogenesis hypothesis or whether it is actually some form of parthenogenesis or some repercussion from once having lived on Oikos Isle. These alternatives or what Henri automatically assumes vis-a-vis Miri’s backstory, I wonder? “…hand on page, take up the pencil and make one strange and perfect mark that would make it all fall into place.” My marginalia pencil.

  11. THE MIRACLE OF BEAUTY: Rūs: 1895
    “; a Wynder cannot lie, least of all to herself; a Wynder would never take another’s life.”
    I am gratified that a Wynder is vaguely akin to a Hawler in ‘Nemonymous Night’…
    This section continues the linkage and lineage of this book’s ‘history’ threaded through null-Immortalis by the presence of first-person-narrator in the form of fey-cyborg Rupetta, heretic or pure, real or false, and, via Sulway’s expression of Machiavellian Peripheral-Vision, we perceive the dynasties surrounding Rupetta. The genuinely false ‘Rupetta’ appears again in this section, the one fabricated like a mere toy earlier – amid a new conspiracy and sororal schism, leading to the true Rupetta’s exile, exquisitely couched by Sulway but stark and isolated as a condition in itself, hinting of that ‘child’ Perdita, making my thoughts stretch further considering her nature. (One textual mystery on page 227: “Emina stiffened beside me.”??)

  12. Henri’s Story: Part Six
    “Our bodies were forgetting. They knew how to forgive, even when we did not.”
    Unrequited love, unrequited mystery. Henri has finished her long-researched thesis, and I guess this thesis itself knows the solution to the mystery. You will have to guess if I yet know the solution, too, or if even this real-time review, as an autonomous entity beyond the reviewer’s control, knows the solution with my own still being in the dark. It is as if I cannot feel the narrative pulse with my thumb because, like Perdita, I have a separate pulse in that thumb. Suffice to say this is a dramatic section of maiming and kidnapping, full of half-revealed mysteries and wrenching passions, where Sulway controls her highest narrative-gear so far.

  13. THE HIDDEN MIRACLE: Oikos Island: 1936
    ” We sat exhausted and lifted the cups to our lips but the tea was bitter, the cake like dust in our mouths.”
    Gaps in the history filled in? A tale of the eternal child as the only possible parthenogenesis? This rite of Rupetta’s passage, cliff-hawling, to a cave’s community of fey-cyborgs – then to the island, a type of Southern Reach, for me, where stay stretches for years in short order. Poignancy deep. The tick of my own old man’s heart, as I myself approach endless death. And you will be entranced by this pavane (as word-danced by Rupetta for a future Henri) of mother and daughter, thought of as goddesses or monsters? Linearly toward convergence or retrocausation?

  14. Henri’s Story: Part Seven
    Mathilde and Emmeline Salt: An Account of Their Lives from 1895-1946
    Submitted by Henriette Francine Bellmer in accordance with guidelines for the presentation of theses at Obanite College. Completed under the supervision of Master Abel Jenon.

    “Everything was different. Everything was the same.”
    And thus we are privileged to read the whole of Henri’s thesis that we have watched her preparing through this channel of narration. Some readers will understand more things than others when reading this, but it is impossible to tell in which category of reader you are. Only good literature gives you such a chance to sit and wonder about the nature of reading of fiction and truth, mystery and history. The perfect blend leads to a form of religion or revelation, the most imperfect to mere entertainment or escapism. I know on which end of the spectrum this book has so far been for me. This is Henri’s thesis of primary sources and. ‘intuition’, dwelling on domestic issues within the nature of ‘Oikos’ itself, spiritually mundane ones by reference to a ‘mechanical goddess’. As a comparison, in the ‘Warriors of Love’ duodecology, there is a pure female civilisation with males either vanished or little better than animals, where worship is of a pure Goddess (iconographised mundanely) that can reside together with gynogenesis. Here, there is a more a form of parthenogenesis from diversity, icon and deity not separate but blended as a sort of fey-cyborg, heresy and purity, for me, as a symbiosis, transcended by a gestation and birth of an ‘anemophilous’ child, an eternal but changing, almost vulnerable, child, during what I call nullimmortalis and what this book calls “a time of solitude, silence, almost-death, a time outside of time, or, at least, a time outside of history.” The only time outside of history is fiction time? But I must keep my powder dry, as I have not yet finished this momentous book.

  15. THE SEARCH FOR PERDITA: The City of Bridges: Present Day
    “Tribes of herders, philosophers, traders, and storytellers, sages and assassins, converge on the city of bridges, one of the great wonders of the world.”
    That word ‘converge’ used geographically and plotly, no doubt, as we enter this narrative channel’s moment with the present, featuring infodumps of extraneously character-spoken backstory for backstory’s sake and of a strong sense of place for its own sake, too, a place that is contexted with placenames in our own world, making theirs ours. Ours theirs. As fabricated goddess meets fabricated goddess in a striking ending to this section. But which or who of the two is fabricated more than the other? We know who we believe is the real Rupetta. But are we suckered by this author’s Machiavellian Peripheral-Vision* or is the author being suckered by her autonomous text’s own machinations?
    *M P-V being a new genre of literature I recently mentioned here with regard to a book that would be another recommended read for readers of ‘Rupetta’, along with ‘The Bone Clocks’, ‘The Warriors of Love’, ‘The Southern Reach: Area X’, Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’ and Marvell’s The Garden…
    “Casting the body’s vest aside,
    My soul into the boughs does glide;
    There like a bird it sits and sings,
    Then whets, and combs its silver wings;”

  16. The City of Bridges: Present Day
    ELM COLLEGE: The Day of Tears

    “And so I will show you how to enter the city of women…”
    These two sections and the previous section are, for me, the book’s coda, a counterproductive one. The book ended when I actually wrote the words above: ‘this momentous book’. And it is indeed a momentous book. It especially is a momentous book (the real Rupetta) if you had finished reading it without the last three sections and if the inevitable convergence had happened “out of narrative time, out of History, into the unrecorded anonymous throng of the unwritten.” Beautiful expression.