Thursday, May 31, 2018

From Rosanne Rabinowitz

Des Lewis’ ‘real-time’ reviews are unique, thought-provoking and always a treat to read. They’re packed with word play and poetry as they unearth associations and currents in the work that I might miss myself when I’ve been so close to it. Other writers describe similar experiences of discovery and regard a Des Lewis review as a work of literature in its own right. I second that. Perhaps you can call this a review of a review. I always feel very honoured by the attention and thought Des puts into his reviews.
They are usually beautifully illustrated as well. I’ve included his cut-out of the tiles from “Lambeth North” that appears on the cover of R&R below, which he connects with the avatar he uses on website. After his exploration of each story, Des sums up:
cropped-2c2a069b-415e-45b1-96c7-9b4c857f22d21“Resonance & Revolt. From Didcott to Didactic, a grail or Rosannation for socialist outreach but made even more palatable as percolated by truth and inspirationally infused by the book’s creative tapping of histories, myths and alternate visions, transfigured from rustblind through to silverbright. Some very important stories in this book transcending any didacticism. And a gestalt of them all that will be enduring. And a book cover that sings out with all these things.”

Monday, May 28, 2018

And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe – Gwendolyn Kiste

18 thoughts on “And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe – Gwendolyn Kiste

    “, the bird emerges, one puzzle piece after another.”
    A fluke that I read this today only a couple of hours after the Royal Wedding. Not only because of the place name of that Wedding – Windsor – but also I can imagine the bride being taken across the threshold like a newly wed, borne like a bird-bride, with great hope, for a fluke’s flight, but the sharp-eyed bride in Windsor, will she, too, give spiky bird-birth and relegate her husband elsewhere? And then fly with the fluke of the birds that re-impregnate themselves within her. Tried to catch this story in my dreamcatcher net. But it keeps flying out again. Each puzzle piece bird reaching endlessly through each unconfinement upon the sore winds for their gestalt? To untether their universe?
    “I dream of marking the right answers. But not Tally. She’ll never color the correct circles. She’ll score a fifty—the worst number—and she’ll laugh and I’ll laugh too. Because if anything’s contagious in that town, it’s her.”
    This starts with a comforter as a bed tether, to prevent vanishment. Vivienne and her co-special friend Tally grow past 16 in this story, a story disguised as a freehold, if feelfree, set of Vivienne’s written responses to ten test questions that are supposed to reveal grades of vulnerability to vanishment or untetherment, as those of us in our world or universe seem to be vanishing, possibly in response to the gestalt of things growing worse in that same world. We, as readers, are meant to join in, thus tallying, as it were, our own scores of vulnerability or susceptibility as we go through the questions. But some of us will, by its own logic, never finish reading this story. Vanishing before the end. 07408AD8-3126-428F-A52E-701E3D37AB7AThat thought is ever haunting the reader, never really knowing whether reaching the end of this test means you are one of the chosen special ones for an earmarked classroom or not. Or whether being special in itself entails staying or vanishing. Yesterday, Meghan was filmed as followed by two small twin boys symmetrically holding her near-vanishing veil of a long train or lace tether…
    Contagious ‘hoisting’ or hawling.
    “Now we know for certain where I’m going.”
    A sororal message left in a vintage bathroom vessel, beyond any Mason and Dixon line of the soul? The border dispute of death. Whether natural or induced. Induced by self or a busybody aunt or both. This is a very disturbing, poetic, eventually inspiring tale that adumbrates such things. But I have tried not to open the casket of this story.
    “But if I arranged for a closed casket, they’d invent scenarios far grislier than the truth.”
    So, yes, I will need to open it at least partly. I am not that unknown man who visited the ‘wake’, amid the surviving guilt of the sister left behind as she nurtured the vesseled-blood component of the sister’s gestalt, a component itself left behind outside the casket by dint of the retentive clawback in the bathroom where the stoical death had taken place. Nor am I Joseph, whom the surviving sister built into a gestalt of recognition from his many strange, unrecognisable parts. Parts of her own sin? I am certainly not the aunt who thought the first man to be the dead sister’s sin. The aunt who said: “She was a ghost even when she was alive.” All aunts once had to be a sister to be an aunt at all. Not one of those visiting flies that came to settle upon the blood that linked one to another.
    A powerful story and the mannered cynicism of mourning at last transcended.
    A Corinthian Clawfoot Bath
    “They’re busy cooing over satin and white stallions, and tethering rusted tin to the tail-board of the royal carriage.
    The young ladies cry because it’s all so romantic.”
    “She married a prince. What more could a poor village girl desire?”
    From the point of view of an, initially, 5 year old girl, this is a memorable dark fairy story, during her growing-up years, where she sees that one bite of an apple by the other girls is tantamount to their being kissed by each Prince or other male dignitary who arrives, not kissed as Sleeping Beauties but as poisoned brides-to-be and then taken in marriage. All constrained by a difficult relationship with her father who thus earns match-making money from owning the orchard where these apples grow, and we are subsumed as readers by a recurrent witnessing of this curse and the way everything is described, a universal curse eventually relieved or untethered for us by our imagining this universe not being kissed by a Prince but being Kiste by this story.
    Meghan Markle the apple of her father’s eye
    “Mice,” I told him. “It’s only mice.”
    Dear Story (if that is what you are),
    Mice in the wall, and a man, if not exactly mice and men?
    At first, the sixteen year old girl writes letters to what we assume to be an imaginary friend in the ‘ambry’ or cabinet in her bedroom. A man she eventually calls Andrew, by imagined responses as to his name. But she grows up still writing to him, leaving the reader privy to these letters. But I wonder if he is the real one, and she the imaginary friend, a sort of pyramidal Eucharist or Pyx, that the ambry and her are sharing as a single synergy. But of course all imaginary friends in fiction (or even faith) are unreliable narrators, I guess.
    Yours, your reader.
    “She mourned too long,” my husband says. “She mourned until something came back.”
    A brief, simple, haunting and touching story of a mother’s wishful thinking of playing hide and seek with her daughter and thus bringing her back out of death’s hiding. Perhaps still as small as her shadow? But not simple at all, when seen in this book’s context or gestalt?
    “Yours, Now & Forever,”
    And ‘Forever’ must continue beyond the end of Kaylee’s story, the progress of her pregnancy still a healthy one. In fact, with this story, the previous AMBRY becomes Kaylee’s AUDREY, a retributive ghost in the shape of Audrey, Audrey who did away with herself when Kaylee married Audrey’s boy friend and now Kaylee is pregnant with his child. Audrey’s ghost leaves grooves in the carpet when its body slithers towards Kaylee at night, sometimes even when tethered by daylight. Another story that is deceptively simple with short paragraphs, but one that is so powerful by transcending, one senses, some complexity, a complexity hidden in plain sight. Embryo developed and primed in the Ambry.
    “, tales that usually made her smile.”
    Two young sisters, in hopeful make-believe synergy, often sleeping in proximity, in never let me go bouts of girly small talk. But a dark irony overhangs this whole haunting, sometimes precarious smileability, the men in peacoats at the camp officiating, the trial and error, red days, red light surveillance, connivance by their parents, a wilted ponytail, visits to the moon or Mars, videos of inculcation… yet, I shrugged off such irony and joined with their smileability, still trying to untether, uncouple the fragmentary make-believe power of hope from emoticon reality – and make such potential power whole, all that there is. A pea green boat not a peacoat.
    “This tourist town dies a little each day, and with our bodies always wilting, so do we.”
    I live in such a place, with a pier, and a sea that’s made of several skins. And a wife who quilts many quilts. Including the quilt that is my avatar. Like Honey and Sea. Meanwhile, this story is an astonishing, unmissable tour de force. It has the premise of our bodies shedding many skins over the years, but here they stick together and can be mutually rifled, intra-gender, too, with much of today’s mores of such sexual or emotional or spiritual or bodily exchanges, amid a scenario of Sapphic loves and jealousies, amid flays and flensings, in a genius loci simply to die for. I was highly moved. And reskinned, if not rejuvenated. Untethering.
    “You’ll think it’s safe. You’ll bring her into this place where you and I danced together, where we pretended to believe in forever.”
    That ‘forever’ again – probably.
    Here, a museum’s stasis-in-aspic as emblem of a eureka moment crystallised by this exorcisable narrator knowing she will never be exorcised, knowing this by dint of some Zeno’s Paradox of spirit, here speaking with her widower about a forever forever, not any shortened forever she was promised before this real one started. Now, a promised ‘love triangle’ of unexorcisables whereby any ‘probably’ is impossible in the avenging hindsight she has created.
    A hate triangle, for ever and ever, amen.
    “But here inside these walls, where lonely children live, you aren’t supposed to care about spells or magnetic sand or dream-catchers in windows. Magic can’t be yours. That’s what the unsmiling women tell you.”
    Two sisters, one marries. Now the unmarried sister has magic without the synergy of magic with the other. Her sister’s husband to be magicked and tallied for what he does, for what he did. Part of the avengement embodied in the previous story. Another man, her sister’s grandson, to be dreamcaught by this work, I guess, by a pantheistic witchery that my own dreamcatcher still tussles with and perhaps tussles with, forever till forever ends, if forever can out-tally its own Zeno’s Paradox. Some of you will cherish such hopes and battles and honourings, and read yourselves into a good synergy with it, taking your just deserts and the rough with the smooth. A rhapsody of love or “just another tally mark.” Probably, both.
  12. I reviewed the next story two years ago when it appeared in Interzone, and below is what I wrote about it then in that context –
    “I tell myself the wind swallows the paper, or a mama bird stuffs my handwriting in her nest as fodder.”
    Tower princesses reminding me at first of the earlier Rapunzel-like Princess called Ellie – but soon becoming, here, a deadpan taking-for-granted that there are some girls in Mary the narrator’s school, girls who are within towers like burqas, I thought, but not really burqas at all, but the very thought about burqas does resonate with the earlier Allah version of mendicants in the Larson…. No, these are like vertical shells, of different materials, and Mary strikes up a relationship with one of them, via the slits of the girl’s tower. The story also deals with bullying as well as incestuous rape upon Mary. This work I treat on its own. Startlingly provocative, enough.
    “She’s a mosaic, and I have to cobble together the pieces”
    But the Kiste also conveys the rite of passage of a young girl as the Devlin does, each tower princess left alone at home like Cinderella but inside her own bespoke mobile home, having become the princess through fitting this body shell (cf the body gloves in the Larson) as Cinderella’s foot fitted a slipper. But once out, what do they become. Born from themselves as mother shed to become child, so as to migrate…and then the shed tower to be used by others for incubation like within Ellie’s earlier chrysalis husk – or like the cyborg trigger within Larson’s Marina. Build up your own brainstorming in the comments below if you have been excited, like me, by this clutch of stories, each awaiting its own further migration.
    “You don’t want to see what they do to her, those monsters hiding in plain sight.”
    And the ‘And’ in the title is all important. That forever AND. Here, I can imagine a reader of this story — reading about its “urban legend” of an otherwise obscure actress in a handful of hard to get films and of the ‘you’ with which the reader is addressed by this haunting description of such a phenomenon — who might also see its author smiling at him or her through the ‘fourth wall’ of the text. Probably.
    The chance is to try synchronise them like a secret palimpsest. A needle judiciously placed in each groove. As the story itself infers. A story to become vintage Kiste, I predict. Not obscure at all.
    “I was there for the art. That was what I told myself. But I was really there for you.”
    We ever recur to the beginning. And I started reading this book on the day of the Royal Wedding. And here we return to a morphed version of it, as if the bride of this story painted it. Gaunt tower-princesses and pillars of salt.
    But still a “fairy tale wedding.” ‘Transforming the beast back into royalty.’ ‘Coaxing the apple-poisoned princess from her grave.‘ ‘The comforter kicked back.’
    And the love remains … forever? Probably, I say, despite the recurring bridal pyre. The ash remembers. Healed here in a “claw-foot tub.”
    The TED Klein General Store of real life characters and observations, to boot.
    I am not one of this story’s “pawing guests”, but still a reader (un)tethered by the containing book’s wonderfully cathartic gestalt. Its emotional and spiritual universe.
    “You outfoxed me by a mile, and you grinned over the rim of your cocktail glass, because you knew it.”

    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

    Drowning In Beauty – the neo-decadent anthology

    Drowning In Beauty – the neo-decadent anthology

    Edited by Justin Isis & Daniel Corrick
    Stories by Brendan Connell, Justin Isis, Damian Murphy, Yarrow Paisley, Ursula Pflug, Colby Smith, Colin Insole, D.P. Watt, Avalon Brantley, Daniel Corrick, Quentin S. Crisp, James Champagne.
    My previous reviews of Snuggly Books HERE
    Whenever I read this anthology, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

    13 thoughts on “Drowning In Beauty – the neo-decadent anthology”

    1. The first 3 items are non-fiction:
      INTRODUCTION by Daniel Corrick
      The first story in the book is by BRENDAN CONNELL and is in deliberate and aggressively harsh contiguity with the soft Royal Wedding today broadcast live to the world from Windsor about an hour ago. Though, the bride herself had an attractive sharp-eyed patina.
      I first reviewed this story in 2011 here and below is what I then wrote about it in that context…
      Molten Rage
      “Massimo arrived back at his car, but it was booted. He shrugged his shoulders and threw his car keys into the the gutter.”
      I keep my door-key on the same key-ring as my car-keys.  All keys are a form of escape. And Massimo lives in a an industrial nightmare that is Milan (brilliantly described) and in a Magic Realism blending Joel Lane and Peter Carey, inter alios, the Leftist truths (for some, dilemmas) including direct action, are canvas-tested with ‘dabs or paints’ of words, including sniffing out dreams that risk us flying without wings in gold sunsets sown with “silicates” and “stigmata“.  To boot a car, is to kick it or remove its back-lid or ‘graft’ a clamp to its wheels like stitching angel-wings clumsily to a man’s back in more hope than expectation of flying or to turn the ignition as one would boot up or kick start a computer.  There are many other keys (some I still hope to find as they were never on my key-ring in the first place before I threw it away), keys to unlock the doors to this gloriously ‘painted’ fable of cruel modern industrial reality, artistic aspiration and revolution-in-the-streets so relevant to facing out those fosterers of our own gathering autocratic austerities as well to the Arab Spring (if not to today’s April sunshine outside) or to this book’s earlier Spartan warriors now heard at our doors (rattling keys). (10 Apr 11 – four hours later)
      My previous reviews of BRENDAN CONNELL:

    2. THE QUEST FOR NAIL ART by Justin Isis
      “, a detachment from the decade’s worth of exhausted designs.”
      We live in decade gulps, I reckon, and this is my first gulp of gestalt. When I just now, this morning, finished this story – the day after, as it were – I pencilled the word WOW! at the end. This is one of those reading experiences that seem like a watershed, one you cannot miss whatever else you may miss to allow it into your toppling reading eyes, here a smooth, somehow luxuriously strident work of fiction, about Erina, stage name Rumika, a hostess and nail artist, feeling old and organ-splitting at age 22, connecting with an outrage of phone calls, her doorbell ringings, texts, this text teeming with status updates, stalkers and stalked, emptying to allow more in, conniving, collisions, collusions, and such mind-smacking magic of detail about her nail art and backstory. But also so utterly smooth and accessible to read. A mix of the Meghan image from yesterday and much much more, read it and see. So completely powerful. If this is what nemo- or neo-decades are about as a movement, then give me more. Stage names and her numbered boy friends galore. Masochism with envy folders. Aura stretched distances. Inferior nails the biggest sin. The concept of seasonails (my word for seasonal nails). The deepest nails, as some sort of embracing of stigmata? The empathy, or not, of massage. On-line reviews of nail bars and nail marklings. And at the end even Okada (as I later saw to be myself intruding) was rightly spurned.
      My previous reviews of JUSTIN ISIS:

    3. 0B303B02-FBE2-43D0-A29D-A2087B2D89C1
      A MANSION OF SAPPHIRE by Damian Murphy
      “She often amused herself, knowing that few would read her handiwork, by slipping linguistic ambiguities, absurdly detailed descriptions, unintuitive turns of phrase, and blatant contradictions into her translations.”
      At times a homing pigeon within the game, Stella plays it in a retro fashion with a ZX Spectrum by loading cassette tapes, a process that I and my son (with whom I have just checked) remember, well, him better than me. It is effectively the LP vinyl version of Damian Murphy in ritual process, with language to match, and it is surely supreme for all Damian lovers. With the congress of her daily translation duties and her times off from choosing her own route to resplendent adventure on the retro-religious kick, you can hardly wonder why this might become a classic, especially when splurged with a sapphire centre upon a Mansion’s Compass. It also resonates with the ritual path of this book’s previous story, when there instilling emojis on her route of status updates. Here, Stella has a Moleskine notebook. If this is neo-decadence, then give me more of it. The ultimate ‘colour-clash’, included.
      “She passed encoded missives back and forth…”
      My many reviews of DAMIAN MURPHY:

    4. ARNOLD OF OUR TIME by Yarrow Paisley
      “The moment stretched. Secrets passed back and forth, billets-doux of consciousness, cherished missives stolen from the courier of time and savoured in the vault of sentiment.”
      …as does the pigeon post women in the previous two stories, now a young man, a gradually self-identifying Arnold, on his shoe berg or a bus journey worthy of ‘The Parry and the Lunge’, and I took it to be a sort of Pilgrim’s Progress with capitalised allegories or archetypes of people, including sex objects without intending distaff exploitation, the Grand Ma Ma, and Others, as if John Bunyan had written it as a rite of passage towards Ice Cream Heaven or Disco Martyrdom, with tingle, to untangled to untingled. The Hawt Sauce was the hawl-light for me. And its essence of Dadaoism (sic), if possibly not Neo-Decadence.
      My previous reviews of YARROW PAISLEY:

    5. FIRES HALFWAY by Ursula Pflug
      “In Canada to be famous you have to be famous somewhere else first.”
      “Who wouldn’t take beautiful, exclusive, scary new drugs given to them by Lou Reed.”
      There is much beauty in this story, even, I guess, dolphins drowning in it. Colours as dosed endorphins and more. The story of Kim as created by the song of a would-be Lou Reed singer in still wall-split Berlin, a period glimpsed as Kim’s backstory that it was due to become after she then later fulfilled a Canadian career in fashion, while his fate was to be a Zeno’s Paradox diminuendo of a singing career. No, it is not the story of Kim created by a song, his song, but a song she helped create with him, to create herself — transcending any tarot findings or Sirian/Fortean events or passing troilisms of a nature sexual. But who knows what strands or connections she picked up from such a still evolving backstory to create the gestalt she is today? That’s the beauty of fiction. A Zeno’s Paradox (“And never get to zero”) of threads and colours and earworms, that can be twined any which way. God’s or the Devil’s. And which of them fires first.
      “I think maybe I have had enough of beauty for a while, you know.”
      “Beauty always pays a lower price, in all things.”
      My previous reviews of URSULA PFLUG:

    6. SOMNII DRACONIS by Colby Smith
      “Here the world is achromatic.”
      From the Colours of Pflug to a faded ‘painting of creation’, (and from Sirian there to Silurian here), from those Colours to this to-be-chipped-away account of “failed sketches” as fossils, and the sex of stones, to this gestalt of nature’s seemingly inchoate Aesthetics, while two, I guess, grizzled land-combers, one with a dowsing implement rather than a metal detector, and “dead yarrow”, both soon to become fossils themselves, human buoys discovered by boys. I just quoted here this couplet from Anne Cluysenaar literally, by chance, a few minutes ago in a concurrent gestalt real-time review:
      ‘For ever is not the point. Never can be.
      It’s all for now. To have been again.’

      Yes, all seems to fit inchoately. Amid italicised, gradually bone-morphing conundrums of science, nature and existence.
      “Things have become too complicated.”
      My previous encounter with COLBY SMITH:

    7. THE MEDDLERS by Colin Insole
      “And in the exposed rock, was the fossil of a prehistoric bird, the lines of its beak, claws and feathers, as clear as when it fell, millions of years ago.”
      The Colby fossils and his sex of stones blend here with the Insole ‘den’, called Leckles as a possible morph of Nettles, an ancient tangled hollow that holds generations of ‘fossilised’ keepsakes not kept except buried here, the consequence games of childhood or of aberrant or sexual adulthood or of more recent internet bullying, all keepsakes and fragments scrawled and moulded into a palimpsest of some gestalt keepsake, amid the snowy, ashy weather, today, near the sea, an elderly care home tenant escaped to come here to rediscover his own keepsake, while the policeman — sent to investigate that man’s death in this den and last refuge — has his own keepsakes to rediscover in the den, too. This is utter classic Insole, a redolently textured receptacle for me, too, even with the synchronicity of the Jeremy Thorpe TV drama broadcast for the first time last night as based on some ancient tangled scandal: “I’ll be your hunny-bunny, if you will be mine. Gummy, what a chap—“
      My many previous reviews of COLIN INSOLE:

    8. DA69D910-1833-4D23-B9B4-9AD7BA45B1C6
      JACK by D.P. Watt
      “all reds and blues and purples and oranges and yellows;”
      In today’s otherwise near-monochrome pub, Jack expletively and colloquially plays poker with fictional money as counters in this otherwise near-fiction, playing with two old male friends and one of their upstart girl friends, his pint spiked, he suspects, spiked, as it were, with those earlier Colours of Pflug, becoming a startling panorama of some colourful mediaeval battle and carnage, with Jack then literally and meaningfully becoming the “bloody bastard” that the suspected spiker calls him! Jack back in the poker game, now with whisky that “looked like dark, morning piss”. Some striking visionary material as born from pub talk. Overlapping realities, too, I infer. A story itself spiked.
      My many previous reviews of D.P. WATT:

    9. GREAT SEIZERS’ GHOSTS by Avalon Brantley
      Where has this story been hiding all my life? A massive entry to this book’s increasingly powerful gestalt. This is Henry V on his deathbed, ‘confessed’ by a vision of a childhood friend as today’s jester (“that increasingly familiar smile on the man’s kind, round face”), writ in a texture of words Shakespearean. Beyond Shakespeare, even, dare I say? Don’t let that put you off. It is truly wonderstruck. You will not be able to prevent its strong positive/negative impingement on your beliefs and life so far, blending hope and Ligottianism. It starts with a quote from Henry IV, Part One, that serendipitously resonates with something I self published yesterday here (before I read this Avalon) about stalking hope and the sun and the frictional abrasions of life’s battles. This Avalon also has “Silurian” from Colby and the Colours of Pflug (“the dauphin’s cheeks”) and bottle- or battle-spiking in the Watt (“the wine whatever it was—“), their overlapping of realities and history’s ‘real’ battles (have you read my review of an overlapping historical battle in SHILOH by Philip Fracassi here?), “strut-and-glut glots out of London”, the cohering by Henry V of pre-battle fragmentary conversations that we all love from this king’s bespoke Shakespeare play, more of Connell’s molten rage, “melting gold of sunset”, and creaturely concatenations of vision. We are in the vanguard of this story’s battle with death and I am now proud to be one more party to it. I have never been a convinced fan of Shakespeare’s works themselves, but I am of this Avalon story. It is essential reading for scholar, dreamer and by-passing reader of fiction alike.
      “Thou art indeed the head of the body, Sire,” said his companion. “With English arms and Gwentisn fingers didst thou seize thy day.”
      My review links and original tribute to AVALON BRANTLEY:

      “, interspersed with shots of precious metals in molten and solid states.”
      I desperately don’t want to over-praise this book, but, yet again, I am given to read a potentially important story, one that I am sure will stay with me. This seems to be the apotheosis of not only this book so far but of what I am beginning to understand is Neo-Decadence. Read this, and you have nailed it, I guess. This contains again the Colours of Pflug in various versions of positivity and negativity, here embodied by the protagonist’s sudden visitation — amid his normal life as an aspiring artist, envious of past artists who were enshrined in vellum and leather, and his girl friend Colette, in London today — by a chameleon, a creature that is magnificently conveyed to us in all its forms, affecting intrinsically this story and being affected in turns BY it, affecting the artist and his art but his art also then affecting the chameleon, but not in a linear way. This alchemy of Aesthetic I sense is unique but feeding off past literature and past forms of Aesthetic. And vice versa. Medieval bestiaries, the Soho art scene, “spiky black-green leaves”, “the tang of iron”, “Surreality”, not surrealism, conveying better this book’s overlapping palimpsest of history and colour, being “nettled”, giving us this “free trip” to enjoy, well free once you’ve bought the book, rooms and buildings adumbrated to suit like chameleons themselves, and so much more I could quote or reference of the Ravissante, Aickman retrocausally become Machen become Corrick, its Arcimboldo of the Spirit. (Samuel Fisher recently wrote a first novel entitled ‘The Chameleon” (reviewed here) vis à vis book’s fiction and non-fiction, a book itself being its actual narrator. This Corrick (published simultaneously) inadvertently apotheosises parts of that, too, or vice versa, but Corrick does it with painting and art, an even more formidable task than Fisher’s. Other than the title, there is very little resemblance or comparison between the two works. But worth serendipitising, as I have just done.)

    AMEN by Quentin S. Crisp
    “; joy must not become intemperance.”
    I have followed QSC fiction for years, and I sense this as some epiphany to expunge purgatory or ‘acedia’, an ornately calligraphic or painterly illumination — in a ‘chamber’ as a monkish version of Insole’s Den — of the word AMEN, as the clincher of some faith or lack of faith, or a hybrid that is neither. Another “keepsake”, following the envied vellum and leather indelibiities adumbrated by the Corrick work, plus words containing colours like those in Pflug (plus gold and silver), and words like ‘scriptorium’ and ‘abertive’ or, earlier in this book, “Rastafarian” and “Paludamentum”, amid now the spiky ‘thorns’ and ‘spinis’, the ‘wingéd’ (wingèd) and ‘belovéd’ (belovèd). And it seems significant to my view of this book’s crystallising gestalt that here you can see me trying to effectively ‘illuminate’ this arguably core-seminal and/or valedictory QSC work after it has already been bound in a book. Just as the protagonist is doing within it to the word AMEN! In The Beginning Was Logos. But Who Let Amen Be The Ending?
    My many previous reviews of QUENTIN S. CRISP:

      XYSCHATON (A CHRONOLOGY MIX) by James Champagne
      “(as stealthily as an under-aged rent boy seeking the flat of a British MP in Dolphin Square in Pimlico)”
      Seems fitting to my earlier mention of the latest Jeremy Thorpe TV drama and this book’s dolphins and dauphins and dosed endorphins. Starting with a quote from ‘Forbidden Colours’, this Champagne follow up to AMEN has ‘Z’ as a narrative replacement for the first person singular pronoun. Seems apt when time travel as a concupiscent visit to an earlier and younger version of oneself can thus exonerate oneself, and hopefully can be exonerated, too, by Burroughs, William S., not Edgar Rice. Otherwise one might be raided by the Authorities for simply owning this story in a book. It is self-consciously non-linear or achronologic but Z still get the picture despite references to items of music that Z do not listen to, plus the mind-banging flow of words as if by the Creation Press James Havoc, aka James, not Champagne, but Williamson, aka Julian Hallett, not Hewelet, or like a similar flow of words by Mike Philbin, aka Hertzan Chimera, and the ‘boy ocean’ that Z drown in as if in beauty. Whichever way one looks at it, the concept is staggering. (Possibly, a ‘girl ocean’, in the case of any character written by Chimera?)
      Well, Z am the first person singular reading this coruscating work, not Z who am in it. The Z as a letter-design is like what Z want to do to a much younger version of ‘myself’ in the story. Think about it.
      My previous encounter with JAMES CHAMPAGNE:
      Xyschaton as the new Eschaton?

    This Coiled Coda is arguably a loose cannon. It shall be left to you to decide whether it enhances this great book, or otherwise. Only time – and triangulation by sufficient readers – can give sufficient hindsight and perspective, whichever way you zig or zag it.
    This book is a literary landmark, whatever.