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DF Lewis books & photos: HERE

CONE ZERO / ZENO’S PARADOX / THE INTENTIONAL FALLACY

Nemonymous Wikipedia | Nullimmortalis | Megazanthus Press

”The Synchronised Shards of Random Truth & Fiction” — the subtitle of ‘Weirdmonger’ book in 2003.

My 2022 Reviewing Announcement: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/03/02/reviewing-announcement/

The Weirdmonger Book

WEIRDMONGER: The Nemonicon: Synchronised Shards of Random Truth and Fiction

Stories first published during 1986-2000, all effectively pre-internet.

Print version first published in 2003 as a Prime Books paperback and in 2004 as a hardback, both out of print since 2010 … till now! —

MIRAGE PUBLISHING HOUSE (2022)


(Cover art: Tony McMillen)

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The new Kindle in March 2022

In other news, I published a new edition of D.F. Lewis’ book Weirdmonger through my own press Mirage Publishing House. It’s only available on kindle, but you can buy it here. This was a short story collection that had a heavy impact on me in college and really was a part of my foundational years as a young writer. I used to read his stories over and over, finding new meaning each time. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy.” — the Kindle’s publisher

One of the stories in ’Weirdmonger’ was recently showcased in THE BIG BOOK OF MODERN FANTASY

A few of the 67 stories in ’Weirdmonger’ were revised for ’A Dead Monument to Once Ancient Hope’ but the new ’Weirdmonger’ Kindle contains, of course, the original text. Having now re-read such originals, I sincerely think they wield a more direct power than the few later revisions do. Different versions optimal for different contexts.

The author received The Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1998 for services already rendered by then!


Nemonymous (2001-2010) Wikipedia

The Treasure of Abbot Thomas


And so from the Graham Greene (To Unswallow God), we make the perfect segue to the unreliable narrator who later dared not ‘divulge’ something, plus half hints of an explanation …

“I labour under a grave disadvantage as narrator of this story…”

“‘…back – to keep – something – No; I can’t speak of it yet. Do you mind calling Brown?’
‘Well, Somerton,’ said Mr Gregory, as he crossed the room to the door; ‘I won’t ask for any explanations till you see fit…’”

here…

M. R. JAMES: The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

“There was no bond of connection between them, either historic, symbolic, or doctrinal,…”

Well, everyone must already know this classic terrifying story — i.e. terrifying when its accruing of gestalt is complete following the connection of cryptic clues from Germany to England of three prophets depicted in stained glass and the counting of 38 stones etc and and the common man servant called Brown who wrote an epistle containing, inter alia, these words: “it will be a Pleasure to see a Honnest Brish Face among all These Forig ones.”

A story of subtle fumbling hints outside bedroom doors, towards the reported — after being withheld — narration of more substantial horror of clambering down a well, after decoding many garbled letters of the alphabet, and antiquarian or ecclesiastical men terrified at monstrous forces let loose, i.e. forces I dare not describe here for fear they will become the prey of T.F. Powys’ spoiler.

But I can clearly allow myself the indulgence of pointing out, perhaps for the first time, that it was one of those ‘elbow’ triggers — often discovered while gestalt real-time reviewing — that let Things loose… “…my left elbow knocked over and extinguished the candle. …”

***

Context anthology of this review here: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/915-2/#comment-905

Above image by Reggie Oliver

To Unswallow God

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GRAHAM GREENE: The Hint of an Explanation

“That’s a master key that opens all locks and that – that’s what I bleed people with.”

Who swallows fiction as truth?
Essentially a religious story, and — if its ending in particular becomes a climax excised or bled away like a train boiler’s mistifying steam — this work has at its heart the dark absurdity and disarming strangenesses and haunting hints of an Aickman story for its own sake, this Greene being an insidious classic that should be showcased in horror fiction anthologies as well as in literary ones, whereby there is an abiding hint of an evil ‘Thing’ that is often anthropomorphised, as it says, into Satan, a work that tells of a discussion of hints about ‘the corruption of children’, a discussion between an Agnostic and a stranger he meets on the train who is a Catholic, on a precariously light and dark train as it enters and leaves tunnels with its own echoing haunting whistle, I assume — yes, a work that also yields hints of hints, hints of other leasehold hints of which the freehold author is possibly unaware. The intentional fallacy of the Eucharist.
And who should ever be able to forget Blacker the Baker, a ‘freethinker’ who once importuned the Catholic when the latter stranger was a small altar boy? Except the Agnostic (listening to him tell this and then telling us) was not a stranger to himself, with his being Greene’s leasehold narrator. And the model tableau of an electric train with which the Thing tempted that erstwhile boy to unswallow God. To unswallow His ‘extraordinary coincidences’ and ‘traps’, too.
The Thing of this story is Greene as freehold author. With a key that not only bled Christ but also wounded him up. The train not being electric powered at all? All fiction contains lies mixed with hints of hybrid truth, such as electricity that needs a clockwork key as well as a radiator bleeder, hints instilled into the minds of its readers…. All of us clocked in and clocked out from afar by the Thing that starts the live circuit that is a mock-up of life and death. The blood and the life of fiction and its often involuntary electricity in the regenerative thews as part of the suspended disbelief that is translated into the sprung faith of such fiction as later such faith is transubstantiated into bread to be swallowed and then offloaded. My reviewer’s unconsecrated freehold-thinking ‘hint of an explanation’ at least!

***

Full anthology context of this review: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/915-2/


My review in 2017 of Greene’s UNDER THE GARDEN: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/under-the-garden-graham-greene/

Ganymede by Daphne du Maurier

The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

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“Unsavoury is a hideous word. It’s the most hideous word in the dictionary. It conjures up, to my mind, all that is ugly in life, yes, and in death too. The savoury is the joy, the élan, the zest that goes with mind and body working in unison; the unsavoury is the malodorous decay of vegetation, the rotted flesh, the mud beneath the water of the canal. And another thing. The word unsavoury suggests a lack of personal cleanliness: unchanged linen, bed-sheets hanging to dry, the fluff off combs, torn packets in waste-paper baskets.”

This is a compelling, page-turning, darkly insidious novelette about a man’s trip to Venice, and his obsession — as in ‘Death in Venice’ — with a boy or youthful man. Leading slowly but exponentially to being appropriated by the place and by a man in a white mackintosh and others connected with the boy. A story…

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“in the grip of – blind – blind stumblers –!” 

CHARLOTTE MEW: Mark Stafford’s Wife

“Well, I can’t to anyone open every door; whoever owns the poor little house, there must be rooms of which, to the end, I keep the key.”

If only Kate did not give the key to the eponymous “lurking horror”, who looked over her shoulder: the celebrity ‘vivisectionist’ or ‘pathologist’ writer called Stafford, but a writer of what? Of books of fiction? … Looking over her shoulder like Death or like God? A Hamlet to her Ophelia, whether with her hair done up or let down, as depicted in a photographed tableau towards the smashed negative-plate that could only happen to early old day frozen stances ….
This would have been deemed a great classic ghost-horror novelette like May Sinclair’s ‘Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched’. It also outdoes even Daphne du Maurier’s darknesses of short fiction, but the Mew novelette would only have been deemed to possess such greatness if  without its own ohm-resistor of style as if borrowed from a tentacular blend of the late works of Henry James and the most rarefied yet-to-be-written Elizabeth Bowen works. A unique style by Mew that I relished, but perhaps many wouldn’t.
This Mew work even prefigured Elizabeth Bowen’s conceit of a ‘shadowy third’ with its own ‘shadowy fourth’! Certainly Mew was one up on Bowen! But Mew as a word also defined as a noun meaning hiding-place.

But who is the shadowy fourth?
The unreliable narrator, a mature woman as Kate’s mentor?
Charlie Darch, a stolid man of ‘the glare’, whom she was engaged to marry before she married Stafford?
The eponymous hindsight monster Stafford himself? — but was he a monster at all, or did he write it all as fiction, as St. Quentin did in Bowen’s ‘Death of the Heart’?
But the shadowy fourth can not surely be Kate herself who sees herself as the one “over-shadowed”, or do I misremember that? — a woman who is at first a fay sprite, but later striding in ‘the glare’ of society, when often neglected by her husband Stafford.

As the narrator herself says — ‘a bewildering tangle.’ Full of stumblers. Indeed, was Mew herself hidden in plain sight ‘overshadowing’ them all? “…this uplifting darkness, that we are in the grip of – blind – blind stumblers –!”

***

Full context of this review: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/915-2/ and https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/04/12/penguin-books-of-british-short-stories/

Theakston’s Old Peculier (sic)

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July Job Offer by Charles Wilkinson

I have read much Charles Wilkinson in the past, one of my favourite writers; in fact I first encountered him in THEAKER’S where they serve good beer with a polite smile. Or am I thinking of Theakston’s Old Peculier? Well, this one takes the reading head right off, as if the rest of my body were a tee. It is ostensibly a satire on a Golf Club and its type of members and their dislike of anything alien, even to the extent of frowning upon buttoned-down collars on woke pink shirts — a Golf Club on the same coast as the Allen Ashley monsters, but here they are versions of Hell’s Angels as created from the well-aged mulch in Wilkinson’s brain, paid for by mounds of loose change to the Club’s surly barman, a bar open to the public as part of local planning demands, and there is an old fogey called Vaunce, not Vance, who ends up [SPOILER] like a Chinese potentate of yore. I’d finish this review if I hadn’t got to go off and see a man about a dog. Whatever, with its headless massacre of meaning and message, this story is couched in a prose style to die for.
PS: Wisdom trickles down or up? — maybe what this story’s message is asking as a coda to Coverley?

***

Context of above review: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/04/28/theakers-quarterly-fiction-70/#comment-24664

Above image: Clacton Crazy Golf 2012

“to become a prey to the spoiler” 


T. F. POWYS: The Key of the Field

“The leaves spun around him in the wind, for the October frosts had turned them yellow, and the November blasts had shaken them from the trees.”

The ghostly-like incantatory yearning and importuning being Uncle Tiddy’s for the Squire’s Field (a sort of Heaven as I found out when finally given the key myself by discovery of this superlative story, no comparison, otherwise) near Madder Hill, the key to which is yearned for by both Grandmother Trott (who lives with her lusty grandsons) and Uncle Tiddy (who gives a home to his comely adolescent niece Lily.) Tiddy sees the key — once he had lost it by fell Trott means — everywhere as a form of pareidolia in every object he sees. Out of reach but ever there. His loss of the key through gossipy innuendo about his fulfilled yearning for his niece (he did love her, but how he loved her we shall never know), but some of the other Trott machinations also lead to rape, childbirth and death. But who knows what was sown where. And whether I myself have indeed been given the wrong key, to stop, at all costs, this story “to become a prey to the spoiler”, nobody can know. The Squire himself, you see, was deemed ‘merry’ in his ways, and the guests he had are left indeterminate, and the final innuendo prevails as to what key Tiddy was finally given by the Squire and to unlock into what sort of Heaven — or Hell? The spinning dead leaves had their own pareidolia shape of a key, as was said at outset.

***

Context anthology of this review: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/915-2/

Bones Don’t Last Forever

Two consecutive reviews this morning….

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See How They Run! See How They Run! by Harris Coverley

“He grabbed it by the frocky end and shoved it under the couch,…”

I simply loved this funny fable with strange names about a hierarchy of beings, and the nearest I can get is Lafferty or even Vance? But uniquely Swiftian in its own way, where wisdom is not necessarily wise enough to recognise a greater wisdom in a seemingly lowlier being. Pets and the bones they can’t let go of. And I myself gnawed away at the ‘hoom’, thinking it might be the David Hume who, according to the Internet, ‘argued against the existence of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge derives solely from experience.’ Or ‘Lost’ Desmond Hume? Till I thought, with some relief, that this is not a fable at all, but an entertaining story for its own sake. Bones don’t last forever.

***

Chapter 7 of ’The Old Boys’ by William Trevor

“‘Oh puss, puss,’ cried Mr Jaraby, ‘what disorder is this?’”

“In anger the claws stabbed at the carpet, and Monmouth, baring a massive jaw, snarled at the tufts of wool.”

This chapter is extremely sad but also wickedly hilarious as we continue to witness the backbiting of the septuagenarian Jaraby husband and wife, blaming each other for each other’s insanity, and I even got confused myself who actually blamed the pussy cat and who owned it, as if it is owned by one of them, not both! To spite the other one, anyway? I sometimes have similar quandaries in my own life.

This chapter seems strangely in tune with my reading earlier this morning of a Coverley story HERE, a fact perhaps feeding my own mad illusion that I continue to possess — or to be possessed by — increments of an overseeing wisdom regarding the Jungian literary gestalt and its hierarchy of connections!
Even to the extent, in this chapter, it is said that “Dowse was the wisest man I ever knew” and “No, my puss, it will not do. We must mend our ways. We must bend to the greater authority.”
Meanwhile…
“Split the produce in half that I may see inside. How else to know if an apple or a grapefruit is worth its money?”
I must remember that when I next buy fruit at a greengrocer!

“He spoke to himself, although his wife was still in the room.”

***

Contexts of above reviews: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/04/28/theakers-quarterly-fiction-70/ and https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/03/31/two-novels-by-william-trevor/

The Trance Gestalt

“It is not easy to remember how and why I wrote a story or a novel. Once they detach from me, I too find them unfamiliar. It’s not a ‘trance,’ but the concentration during the writing seems to take away the awareness of whatever isn’t writing itself.”
— Clarice Lispector (Ukrainian born Brazilian writer)

And if writers, then their reviewers, too?

The Crook That Numbly Stole Away

L. A. G. STRONG: The Rook

“So far, that is of course, as was con—
Ah. There was young Kerrigan, walking casually across the grass. At sight of him the rooks in the tree rose in a body …”

Rose in a body. That bit tells the whole story in an eggshell, the shocking shooting by an old man of the rook among many rooks in the old man’s garden, when the little rooks would have made a better pie for the old man and his wife to eat, an old man like me who shot the bird, as an almost gratuitous murder mistaken for a rook-collective instead of a parliament. And the priest, who witnessed the mercy stabbing of the dying rook by another priest, started marking exams instead of invigilating them as he did before witnessing, in body, such a mercy. But were they really rooks? Well, Corvus, at least. I actually seemed to feel the poignantly numb and gradual dying of the bird by means of this remarkably heart-wrenching, more-than-merely-vicarious experience of a story that I would never finish experiencing before my consciousness became the crook that numbly, if not nimbly, stole away before it knew it flew.

***

Anthology context of this review: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/915-2/