Summonings – Ron Weighell

summo

I have just received my purchased copy of SUMMONINGS: a collection by Ron Weighell (Sarob Press 2014)

Dust Jacket  & Signature Page Art by Santiago Caruso

My previous review of this author’s ‘Tarshishim’ HERE.

MY EVENTUAL REAL-TIME REVIEW OF THIS BOOK WILL TAKE PLACE IN THE COMMENT STREAM BELOW AS AND WHEN I READ IT.

9 thoughts on “Summonings – Ron Weighell

  1. D’Arca
    “Uncovering what she thought was the umpteenth mirror draped in funereal black, she was confronted with a full sized copy of the Bembine Tablet of Isis.”
    Sexual politics through entwining marginalia and real artefacts, as our female protagonist faces this story’s richly textured mazes of code, automata, Weighell trademarks statues with souls, fine art, mythology in the ‘Darker’ Mantua villa, she as curator or explorer of Hathor et al. Nicely detailed and characterised, like the straw hat etc, and I was tempted to try just one of her methods, seeing how the physical book fell open naturally within her story: and it fell upon the reference to DH Lawrence’s SNAKE, except she got it wrong: it was a log not a stone that was thrown.

  2. I read and reviewed the next story in 2009. The text (originally shown here) of my review is transcribed below:

    The World Entire – Ron Weighell

    “The junk shops and dustbins were overflowing with discarded treasures, leaving the houses free for the incoming tide of ugly, cold, soulless furnishings that were the latest fashion.”

    Here the book’s Meyrinkian reality is cleverly transported, amid Lovecraftian miscegenations of hatred and envy, into the English reader’s heritage of Richmal Crompton and ‘Just William’. The Meyrinkian power of this book is to open a Cabbalistic synaesthesia of tongues and loosely cousined religions and literary decadence within even our most mundane or once youthful readerly minds that have forgotten how old one must be to be erudite or sensitive enough.

    The come-uppance of the boys described in ‘rusty ink’ takes its textural toll as text. I find it difficult to forgive even the sympathetic I-protagonist let alone the nasty boy who accompanies him on this mischievous foray into a private Semitic domain as accessed from the city’s roofscape. All brilliantly described by a narrator who has lexic power beyond his apparent youth. Only the retrocausality and insight of hindsight and of later learning can summon such detailed boyish antiquarianism. And a wonderful half-glimpsed stone monster. (28.12.09 – two hours later)

  3. The Counsels of Night
    “Panic ensued when a tribute to Marcel Duchamp, a very large shovel entitled ‘Recurring Hernia’, was picked up by a departing workman and later found being used to shift aggregate on a landscaping project in Essex.”
    At first an intriguing treatment of restoration, renovation, replication of art antiquary and its contrast or rivalry on TV with so-called modernism like that of Damien Hirst, amid the backdrop of an individual historic Grand Tour collection of a man, who got madly touched by a mishmash of follies and influences such as The Lane of the Snake etc? Eventually, for me, the whole story itself became a confusing mishmash – albeit with some really striking weird fiction passages – and I was never certain in which mirror which era of art was being reflected. I sense it is an attempted satire on modernistic art. For me, I enjoy art of all ages and styles – and I live in Essex. Clacton, to be precise.

  4. I read and reviewed the next story in January 2012, and I copy and paste below what I wrote about it then (from here, if you want to see the context):

    Suburbs of the Black Lyre

    “The great globes may be terrestrial, but the land masses that can be glimpsed do not correspond to any of this Earth, and of two candleholders in the form of life-size men holding torches, one has apparently moved its head twice during the exposure.”

    Now we come, it seems, to the tour de force of the Box camera (for surely that is what it is even if it is quite beyond any Brownie or mere Sepia because it is Amber like the Tears of the Gods).  With no disrespect to the other contents of the Box (for they, of course, remain fully worthy of my previous comments) – this substantial work (‘Suburbs of the Black Lyre’) is worth on its own the whole cost of the Box and of the challenging, fulfilling read up to this point. It seems to be both on-going extrapolation as well as recapitulation of the Box – as if it can’t let go (with any ‘trepanning’ failed) and it will still be accreting parthenogenetically even when you finish the Box and close it.  Positive and Negative in full photographic as well as candle-lit synergy.  The last line of this work is a masterstroke and I won’t spoil it by quoting it.  But I shall quote some other lines below.  The work is about a photographer of statues and other facets (Sabnak, by name) – but that description (and my own photographs below!) do no justice to Weighell’s WORDS about those various photographs and how everything works so well together with the rest of the Box.  “The plates had been stored in a large, custom-made box, beautifully crafted and dovetailed, stained to a subtle violet hue.” (With snakes intertwining like those two candles). “We are left asking ourselves how many ‘centuries of stony sleep’ are here being ‘vexed to nightmare’?”— “The likelihood that a stranger could gain access to this book, let alone permission to photograph it, seems remote…” — “The sense of excited movement, of loathsome animation, is acute. It is a calculated celebration of sentient decay.” —  “- we are clearly in the town of Xoblah itself, on the vantage of some roof or balcony…” — “Coiling masses of serpent-tailed sea beasts and ocean gods are corroded into deformed beings of coral by centuries of neglect. Sabnak’s use of slow exposure time has frozen the flow of waters,…” – and the celestial map of mirrors – and the Judas Plate –  I could go on and on with many more quotes and references. You simply must read this work for yourself. “…the original nature of Humankind, dwelling in supercellestial realm, consorting with Angels, privy to the mind of God.” The ‘cell’ was perhaps important, after all.

    The Box takes on a whole new dimension with the final work here contained at the end of the Journal Notes (now aptly seen in a new light by their loose leaf nature).  I was going to say these Journal Notes are some form of ‘end-interpolation’ (a term I invented earlier) but anything less than seriousness here would be a faux pas on my part.  The gestalt is in that last unquoted line of ‘Suburbs of the Lyre’.  And it is also in one of the Box’s items of loose leaf artwork showing a hooded figure from whose hidden face there beams a torch-beam flash of vision or searing pain or photographic memory… (2 Jan 12 – another 3 hours later)

  5. Now Feel That Pulse No More
    “There were, as well, the various statues that showed him with his bleeding heart exposed upon his chest,…”
    A creeping ghost story – as well as an upstanding one, appropriate for 2014 and memories of 1914 in one of its two parallel, tutelary hauntings. It is indeed an effective piece of boyhood steeped in Confession and church pews – as well as a genuinely chilling plot about a haunted house and scratched frost that should make this story well-anthologised in the future. The smells of cooking at Christmas, too, and in honour of Avant Garde reviewing (but not to take away anything I’ve already said about this story), I will say that I was genuinely perturbed by “the bloody pigs heads” overtaken by festooned turkeys… And the CumpSTY family.

  6. The Mouth of Medusa
    I was rather disappointed by this story that has shades of Angus Wilson’s ‘Anglo-Saxon Attitudes’, here over-fabricated with an impending flooding-out of the archaeological dig that has various artefacts of revealed mythology, as a weakly satirical, if nicely written, backdrop to a conspiracy of relationships between the various male and female diggers, relationships avernal, academic and amorous.

  7. The Four Strengths of Shadow
    “Kneeling there, he tried to see them devoutly as holy objects, but found that he could not banish from his mind the guilty idea of condemned meat in some nightmarish butcher’s window.”
    Indeed. And this is a very effective tale of Venice where verities of evil and good during initial research seem fixed, but doubt and a darker different certainty gradually encroach – amid some perfectly adumbrated passages of tortured, even cannibalistic, visions of horror ensuing, wherein one whom we originally thought good and one whom we originally thought evil switch. And then I wonder if the ostensible author of this story, whose name on the title page has ‘Hell’ embedded, is excused by having a freehold or, at least, leasehold author over him working the strings of his pen? Or was he freehold himself, mocking me earlier in this book with mock satire, even while constructing the building of this book upon the canal of my thoughts, just to lower my defences…?

  8. I have already read and reviewed the next work: THE TEARS OF THE GODS : and I copy and paste below what I originally said at the end of 2011 below (the context being here):

    —————–

    Consorting with Angels

    “Who owns the region owns the religion. But is it not equally true that who rules the religion rules the region?”

    Amid much mythic name-checking from various occult or arcane regions or religions, we learn of Holy Roman Emperors and a form of wondrous Star Chamber edifice on the outskirts of Prague – and, inter alios, Dee involved with the creation, by astrology or alchemy or sheer magic wordplay (as enhanced by the book’s private artwork), of an Angel Cage and the synergy, symbiosis, host/parasite relations of human and angel, and my own inferences of (mock?)-esoteric-language and Lovecraftian-feel of conspiracies surrounding it. I am practised in astrological harmonics myself, but I’m not sure I believe in them – but, equally, I often wonder at the correlations produced. Also, personally, this is a real-time review so I am giving initial reactions: scratching the surface: and I can already tell it will require several readings to eke out its full “sweet syrup“. Having said that, I already sense a power beyond the words, a pervasion of or by a ‘magic fiction’ (as I have defined it publicly in the past) that indeed often subsumes reality itself. The apparent glitches, too, like “like – minded” rather than “like-minded”, and “Stone-Hinge on Salisbury Plain” and “supercellestial” feel deliberate… meaningful. (27 Dec 11 – two hours later)

    A Sudden Sunshine

    “Through an opening can be glimpsed a garden stunned to utter stillness by the summer heat. It is a vision of intricate knots, topiary and marble statues.”

    A brief tarramadiddle that I may later fit into some hindsight context of this book – wondrous prose in itself, nevertheless, about an old man in dialogue with a Thames-side enarboured diadem demoiselle, ‘knots’, for me, being translated as ‘ligotti’ and Angelic kings as Angevins… Polish : Polar. (27 Dec 11 – two hours later)

    The Black Lake of Night

    “Because it is within Man’s power to seek wisdom does not mean that it is within his power to find it.”

    Ranging from Dvorakian-Rusalkan “water goblins” toward – what I sense to be – this book’s continual seeking of craftsmen in “minuterie” to assist – via a hindsight of erstwhile retrocausality – with Dee’s Angel Cage (here involving Tycho Brahe in a word-materialising Prague). Weighell’s prose style itself is part of that synergy of “minuterie” – as is, for me, the synergous prose style here: Allurements of Cabochon – by John Gale. Also a “demon tamer“, and images to die for or to be set in ‘bas relief’. Hell and Heaven worked together by “intaglios” – but which the host, which the parasite?: I find myself asking for no reason. There is incidentally a ‘hell’ in ‘weighell’. And nearly in ‘angel‘… (28 Dec 11)

    The Summe and Substance of the Conference

    That was undeniably unfortunate; an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.”

    A hilarious human-nature ‘racism’ fable, encompassing London fires or freeze-ups, blamed on Angels or those who encourage them? Well, not quite. But you’ll get the message when you read it: as you continue to delight in the book-sturdy prose with its hard gems as well syrupy lightnesses – and brotherships as well as magical powers in Limehouse, Wapping etc. And a reprise of ‘polar’ makes me think ‘Plague’ is a deliberate assonance with ‘Prague’! At least on frozen rivers, you can put a fair. (28 Dec 11 – another 2 hours later)

    Fishing for Coral

    “‘…and he said the Tsar was a student of alchemy, and belongs to a secret order who worship ancient gods.’ / ‘If it is secret, how does he know?'”

    The visionary prose collage continues to accrete fascinatingly, a collage about the angel / human device: something I would call, in the Weird Literature field, a ‘contraption’, one that many climates (here initiating from frozen descriptivities in tune with the previous section’s river) and dynasties and cargo-cults and geographies and histories and meticulous or arcane or (semi-)religious skills (post-Deeside) are teeming towards a trick-into-being or a straight-create: awe-somely as well as implicit-humorously with the editorial interpolation regarding a ‘first cause’ interpolation in its own right: The Gentleman’s Magazine 1737. — The collage indeed continues to accrete fascinatingly, whether the veil or portal or interface is most efficient between Angels and Humans or Angels and Demons or, even (or especially?), Demons and Humans – and I wonder whether double alliances are possible in any form of triple entente, or vice versa. Meanwhile – Fishing for Coral? Well, coral, as far as I know, accretes, like this book’s collage. May even be parthenogenetic? On the other hand, engravings, intaglios etc grow by deliberate intervention from an outside force or unparthenogenetic cross-fertilisation. Also, contraptions. Or so I presume. (29 Dec 11)

    The Chain of the Exilarchs

    In it can be found incantations, amulets and roll calls of the Celestial Hierarchies.”

    The secreting/accreting now goes into substantive ‘overdrive’, if I can use a modern word to describe this “living book of magic“. A ‘candle dream’ (my old term not, so far, this book’s) that is enthralling, amid ‘Jewish Diaspora or Exilarchy’ concerns; it is ostensibly about a lost skin-scroll of tattooed words made into a book now gone missing (stolen?) and contraptive machinations (spells?) then narratively working to retrieve it at potential cost of body or soul. — Generally, one needs great learning of many facets of myth and religion and history and ancient / less ancient writings to wring full benefit (and I am not at all perfect in this regard, I have to admit) from the astrological or celestial harmonics here construed/constructed by this book’s High Literature, its High Weird — its Weird Weird:- ending, as this ‘story’ does with Editorial / Gentleman’s Magazine ‘end-interpolations’ (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) of fleetingly potential High Absurdism. (30 Dec 11)

    Two Candles Burn Brighter

    “I am indeed a Glutton of Books.”

    A delightful sit-com of a famous poet (named explicitly) receiving a Visitor from Porlock (not named explicitly as such) who, inter alia, complains of the poet’s marginalia in library books. I had to smile even more at that point – as I myself personalise the books that I real-time review with marginalia! There is much “Illuminist” candle-dreaming, too, here, although I’m not sure where dream ends and reality begins or whether each is the other or neither of these things at all. Highly enjoyable mentions here, too, of “Arks of Knowledge, or Angel Cages“, continuing the dutiful thread. [I sense that the earlier “supercellestial” I suggested as a possible glitch (like any other possible glitches in this book) is not a glitch at all, as I explicitly suspected earlier to be the case. Those examples, like the “Himmalayas” in this ‘story’, are all part and parcel, I propound, of the aforementioned aspirationally absurdic ‘end-interpolations’. No overt textual glitches, then, but I do suspect that the glue partially binding this book needs the stitches that are here thankfully in place to obviate what appears to be its slowly developing insecurity as glue.] “The question of how snow moves in a breeze, for example: or the life of the Seminole Indian: or the anatomy of the whale; and Snake birds and Upas trees. So many things can be fuel for the poetic spirit.” (30 Dec 11 – ninety minutes later)

    The Voice of the Silence

    “Adam Weishaupt’s ultimate secret was that the secret that there was no secret has served to conceal the secret.”

    With “Wax candles spread their golden light” and “teachers who have been busy lighting candles”, the ‘Illuminatus!’ of this accretion-cage of meanings grows with both political contraptivity and mystical glowing: here a 19th century scenario hinting at a great female Theosophical thinker who also seems embroiled with this book’s ‘co-spiricy’ of or with Angels and Demons. Despite some false starts in my gathering leitmotifs from this Classical Weird of symphonic proportions towards a gestalt, I am now much more confident about my own abilities to ‘bottom-fish’ fundamentals (as well as trawling any ‘synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’) from the ‘decks’ of the literary vessel that is the Box. [Any faulty gaps between the book’s own seams are taken as read particularly in the light cast by the still ribboned pack of loose-leaf yellow journal notes yet to be investigated after finishing the book. Meanwhile, still no sign of those apparently missing items I mentioned at the beginning of this review.] (30 Dec 11 – another 90 minutes later)

    The Law of Unintended Consequences

    “In his long experience the unexpected arrival of an expensively dressed, arrogant looking civilian in the heart of a military operation heralds nothing good.”

    …like a presumptuous real-time reviewer seeking the heart of a book but trampling – as well as stumbling on – precious vessels and veins as a result like a bull in a china-shop? Meanwhile, this story has a neat equinish conceit involving the Veterinary Surgeon being presented by the civilian to “the unstoppable future of our Nation’s Cavalry.” Causing, end-interpolatively, many real horses to act like lemmings. Sad, yet stirring. Rhys Hughes-ian. The law of averages is not an average law, I say. One wonders whether the Eastern-looking tent or pavilion was more of a ‘contraption’ in keeping with this book’s dutiful thread? (30 Dec 11 – another hour later)

    [I quoted “the anatomy of the whale” earlier. I’m sure – in the light of my review techniques – I misread this as “the anatomy of the whole”…] (30 Dec 11 – another 30 minutes later)

    The Lion Serpent Begets Gods

    “The music, by the way, was superb. I congratulate you, Scriabin.”

    If this book previously went into ‘overdrive’, it is now in overdrive’s overdrive! Gorgeous things (both decadent and undecadent depending on your point of view) embodied in sumptuous, Galean prose: depicting a new Bayreuth or Rutland Boughton Glastonbury (my inferences, not the book’s) – while tying up the book’s ‘dutiful thread’ with Classical Music and other previous theosophical and “qliphothic” matters, Historical, (here) Russianised, Engravured, Empyrean, Close-Closeted or Universal. [I brought this real-time review to my surrounding ‘Classical Horror’ website before I realised the book was here to extrapolate on Classical Music at all. My family actually discovered Scriabin for BBC Radio 3 in the 1970s, by requesting his music.] A Panoply of Human Gods. Listed, like buildings. [I wish this book would get its internal hyphens sorted out as in ‘frost- etched’ and “white – veiled“.] Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrickian, too, by inference of wide-eyed deliverance of the Reader to these ‘secret’ scenes (albeit non-sexual, so far). (31 Dec 11)

    On the Side of the Angels
    “In fifteen sixty six, when Suleiman’s Sorceror called up demons to fight alongside the Ottoman army, an Angelic Host led by the Archangel Gabriel was summoned to oppose them.”
    Felicitously, amid the book’s dutifulness towards its own Angelic thread, there is much synergy not only with my own long-term definition of ‘magic fiction’ as a real power in human affairs but also with the use made of it in warfare as described by the masterpiece ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ in the name of Susanna Clarke. Also, arguably, a textual hint here of the internet as part of these processes, which my real-time reviewing also taps into, I suggest. “I take it you are not well read in the works of the master, Edgar Allan Poe? I thought not. It was his belief that if you wish to hide something, the best place is in full view.” This book is fast becoming, in full public view, an important part of my life, retrocausally as well as linearly forward in time. Remarkably, it mentions in this section today “Marston Moor” as one of the battles where “Beings” were sent, i.e. a battle which, synchronously, only yesterday was mentioned independently to me on a semi-public internet forum (here) as being a battle that (with right or wrong on my side, angels or demons?) I am currently fighting on behalf of real books against ebooks. (31 Dec 11 – four hours later)
    Control
    “…and flickering firelight, full of the smells of old books…”
    A scholarly meeting in tune with M.R. James but, refreshingly (with scholars worth their salt), leading not to a plot-sized populist ghost story but to implications of more ‘musical’ interactions of Fine Art (fine as well as foul?) and Philosophy within the book’s Angels & Demons thread / Rationalisation and Magic / Control and Totalitariansim – and how each of us – however firm we are in our beliefs and in our own hard-won goodness – teeters in the grey area between such pairs of ‘similar opposites’, such Ewers-Spider symbioses or host/parasite-uncertainties-of-which-is-which — {Swedenborg or Blake?} [The paragraphing and speech-marks at one point in this section made it difficult to differentiate speakers]. (31 Dec 11 – another 90 minutes later)
    Satyrs Gathering
    “…the magic that could be wrought by the decoration of books.”
    A short telling Coda to the previous story, regarding Chaos Theory (butterfly effect between earthly things and Angels) and much else contained within its Tardis of words. Serendipitously, Blake figures here (Hitler again, too): and the cats and other creatures from the VanderMeers’ massive ‘The WEIRD’, and the London Stone ley-lines from Ackroyd — and the oxymorons within salvation… And it also reminds me that Caruso’s decorations are suffused with Blake’s, in a good original way. Another symbiosis. (31 Dec 11 – another hour later)
    The Water of Speech Is Quenched
    “It is as well that this space grows to accommodate what enters it,…”
    Hence the Tardis-Box (Tarshishim-Box) that contains the book? How would a demon ebook manage an angel book like this one? The mind boggles. Perhaps more seriously, this ‘story’ is a substantive crowning of its heretofore context: a procession of resplendency and light as well as dark illuminacy and wisdom and those who represent such wisdom and legend and arcane lore, making this Cage, this Ark, this Book, this Box, the Contraption itself of which it narrates and accretes learning and weird fantasy of the highest order. So weird, so fantastical, it simply must be true, otherwise how can the human mind encompass it without going mad? And I remain as sane as ever across the portal from one year to the next. An ambiguity, too, of intention (cf: my own long-term interest in Wimsatt’s Intentional Fallacy) and of outcome: the nature of there being no good without bad from which to measure it, and vice versa. We would never learn the full value of real books, for example, without the value of ebooks as a recent, Angel-given, Demon-given foil or comparative calibration. Only a real book, especially one with humble deliberate glitches, can convey the essence of the “synaesthesia” summoned here. And the Pact of which you shall read here in this section. And the Caruso artwork on page 128 that I haven’t yet seen on-line is stunningly resonant with these thoughts of mine… (1 Jan 12)
    Lampetia and Phaethusa Weep
    “We sent the right cases. Who can say what happened to them? […] We can swear we despatched them.”
    You need great learning to wring the full benefit from this book and/or good googling-fingers. I intend to re-read this book in the future with that sort of enrichment. This fable is a case in point. Concerning matters of the Third Reich. It seems to be the book’s official Coda following its ‘crowning’ in the previous section. A guarded room (like the Tardis-Box?) with its own missing Boxes or Crates inside. [Cf: the (so far) ostensibly missing items from this very box I’m reviewing and some further comparative-calibration information HERE]. “I will make sure they keep their mouths shut as to their contents.”
    As I hope you can judge from my findings so far, with the Box’s book’s first reading completed, I am very affected by it in a very positive way, in all manner of dimensions. I shall continue this review below by exploring the ‘Journal Notes’ which may shed more light on the ultimate gestalt. (1 Jan 12 – two hours later)
  9. image
    Into the Mysteries (an excerpt)
    This story is a remarkable Machenesque yet no doubt uniquely Weighellish vision, including a vast Hawksmoor-aligned Pyramid in London that is used to house the dead of many religions and with different funeral rites enacted therein, its labyrinthine floors swept by sweepers… This is a classic story that is also a mockery that I think retrocausally infects what I have already suspected about my prior reading of the rest of the whole book, sown with humour and absurdity, an insidious creeping into my review and booby-trapping it. A mockery that sometimes seems sinister, at other times amenable. The vision itself, though, is stunning – with “faith in the underlying oneness of all confusions…”

    I now know what the expensive, now possibly defunct, Tarshishim box can be used for: i.e. as my final-resting place when I have shrunk hedgehog-sized like Pope Gregory from Mann’s Holy Sinner…and for it to be taken into Weighell’s new Tower of Moab – for whatever respect or religious rites are my due – taken ‘into the Mysteries’.

    end

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