I have just received, from Amazon UK, a copy of this new book of fiction:
THE SPECTRAL LINK by Thomas Ligotti.
Subterranean Press 2014
My previous reviews etc. about Thomas Ligotti’s work:
The Conspiracy Against The Human Race
‘TEATRO GROTTESCO’ collection
Perpetual Autumn article
Ligotti’s Didacticism: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=8691
Ligotti the Experimentalist: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=8678
The Spectral Link (spoilers?): http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=8677
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I have now read ‘Metaphysica Morum’, but not yet read ‘The Small People’. I don’t think it’s any accident that Olan is an anagram of Loan, a loan being a two way ‘deal’, infecting and benefiting both ways, just as ‘demoralise’ is, in its modern sense, to make someone lose hope but, in its archaic sense, to strip someone of morals. This story is of the infinitesimal and the immeasurable, both ironic and non-ironic, about futility, where fighting in this literary way for futility is a purpose that outlasts and immortalises the fighter but also this fighter is fighting WITH futility thus landing him back in that bus station toilet where he began.
I am indeed “open to ‘delightful possibilities and interpretations’”, like Dr. O, but also believing “nothing really meant anything”. The story has its own “magnificent symphony” as its ‘new-found context’ for a ‘metaphysical mutant’. Borrow or lend, which comes first? A fascinating tantalisation. Am I ‘uniquely defective’ in thus interpreting this work?
And now I have read ‘The Small People’…significantly on this the day my own bungalow house begins to take final shape through quite major rebuilding this summer; originally a 1930s built abode into which my wife and I first moved in 1995, the same year that Ligotti’s Bungalow House story was first published. I am now sitting in the back garden writing this in the evening sunshine sometimes gazing up at the reconstituted roof and new dormer extension, the new roof made from the old tiles, now a patchwork of worn and not so worn tiles… “ruins upon inauguration”.
Metaphysica Morum was for me, at times, a sort of Swiftian Modest Proposal; The Small People is more a Gulliver’s Travels merged with Sarban, a genuine masterpiece that will incubate slowly within me… telling of our struggle with entropy and the desperate half-life between offspring and we parents. The vision of the Small People is a unique one, I feel, uniquely defective, like eating backwards…chewing and absorbing ourselves towards where we emerge from the womb, then the womb itself?
The two friends meet in a lavatory in an old park, related to that bus station one in Metaphysica Morum? The spectral link? A gestalt real-time review of one book leading to another book, each word itself a small person dying to express itself, but needing others to join in to give full joined-up meaning.
Is a life a loan with a curse of interest?
It may be significant that the protagonist in ‘The Small People’ addresses a Doctor in telling his tale as a sort of confession, and I imagine this doctor to be Lemuel Gulliver who was a medical doctor and also was imprisoned for public urinating rather than in a toilet or lavatory (although it was to put out a fire that he did it). I was wondering whether there is anything else possibly significant from Swift’s book in relation to Ligotti’s. (I speculatively compared parts of Metaphysica Morum to the Modest Proposal device, for example.)
Having slept on ‘The Spectral Link’, I consider it to be a major work that will continue to resonate with me…
An interview with Ligotti has been issued today here: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=8726
This is fascinating and harrowing, and concerns ‘The Spectral Link’. I am split between these following two viewpoints, my heart and my head, but which is which?
1) This is a rich and illuminating interview that helps my future re-reading of the book.
2) It is something that badly infects the book with considerations outside of its published pure text, and this is why I have always tried to resist reading authorial interviews, including the very many Ligotti interviews.
(1) and (2) benefiting as well as infecting like Olan’s ‘loan’?