Dreams of Ourselves


I have just received my purchased copy of this luxurious, richly artworked book…

288 pages – No. 31 of 110 numbered copies


Stories and novellas from Quentin S. Crisp, Jonathan Wood, Colin Insole, Andrew Condous, Mark Valentine, Damian Murphy, John Howard, Rhys Hughes, Adam S. Cantwell, D.P. Watt, Avalon Brantley.

Les Editions de L’Oubli MMXIV

Zagava / Ex Occidente Press

I am particularly intrigued by the prospect of this book as it seems to be operating a form of Nemonymity (author late-labelling) that was operated in NEMONYMOUS 2001 – 2010.

My previous reviews of this publisher’s books linked from HERE



13 thoughts on “Dreams of Ourselves

  1. imageThis anthology is edited by Adolph Moscow as an Appreciation of Fernando Asspoe.

    That Nothing Human Scorn by RAPHAEL BALDAYA
    “The dust-motes in their miniature asterets could no longer be seen. The ochre had grown deeper. But really, I was looking within.”
    This is a story that ‘unites beauty, intelligence and grace’ – well, it certainly is what I consider to be an engaging opener to this book and to my review (which may take months to complete given the balanced state of myself, either going one of two ways, but yet unsure which) – an immaculate story portraying a gentleman’s discussion that takes place between the two wars about a quest for ‘the perfect being’…and then as to the results of their quest, I am delighted not only that this whole book seems to be echoing previous Nemonymous-like late-labelling methods but also that this first story taps my methods of leitmotifs-into-a-gestalt real-time reviewing that have been demonstrated since 2008, thus giving you at least some clue as to the gentlemanly quest’s optimum, almost parthenogenetic, outcome.

  2. Petseta by SEBASTIAN KNIGHT
    “‘It’s all become a little Caspar David Friedrich,’ I said.”
    Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this work. After an essay on déjà vu that reads like a highly polished version of a Thomas Ligotti Online Forum post published on one of its more philosophical threads concerning Anti-Natalism or personal views of Religion, it enters what I would call (you heard it here first) the Literature of Wilful Bewilderment. It is honed and ached through and debated as to holiday motivations culinary or positional, telling of a coach journey in Crete, and ending up at a dubious feeding place that has a side exhibition into which we are inveigled, featuring local ghosts and a form of eponymous lace handiwork. We end up “sensitive to every knot”… And there is nothing much else to say, give or take the odd embarrassed laughing at the nature of laughter if I ever meet its author and embark upon a discussion with him about eternity and dream.
    Seriously superb. I think it will haunt me forever.

  3. Under Different Stars by NAVAS
    “There lay a skeletal covering of cutwork lace on the table, under my hands. I looked at it.”
    Stemming from the previous story’s sensitivised knots of lace, a séance in this meticulously woven story is an ultra-rarefied treatment of words themselves as heteronymised stigmata of identity. A ‘demiurge’ as a dare-me-urge?

  4. We Are All Words by BURTON DONALD-WICKHAM HALLAM [past President of The Provincialist Society for the Promulgation of Thought]
    “Every season becomes the eternal autumn of the soul, battling with the disturbing chaos of the future…”
    That author by-line above does not do justice to this long inverted paean to self when seeing oneself as a young boy crossing the road near to the large spectacles sign of the optician shop opposite — and, ending with the previous story’s séance, one can imagine that this is the narrator of the book’s second story agonising again in such a wilful unbewildering of self, in the ‘pitted mirror’ of the ideally fixed Past, the Past as an old companion or curmudgeonly Whovian refuge, and then in the exploration of Thought as a series of ‘thoughtogravures’ and ‘thoughtographs’, and later aspiring to share a cognac with Death.
    And that partial description of mine above does no justice to this work, either! This work is well-honed and sumptuously prosed, but it is also a manically interjectory and vocative monologue, with haiku-like ornamentation and epistolary interludes with the optician. It is relentless and wearing as well as inspiring and accommodating to my own late autumn of life. It conveys nemonyms and heteronyms within another stigmata of words. A soaring Oblation or Ode to the Outlier.

  5. imageMr S. And Dr S. by HORACE JAMES FABER
    Is it any accident that Faber is often seen as Faber & Faber, a fact that is at least half germane to this story, I propose? Seriously, if I have guessed correctly as to the true identity of Faber’s double or mimic (also see VanderMeer’s ‘Area X’) as author of this story, this is another of that author’s masterpieces. Incredibly impressive.
    “A handwritten manuscript is another matter entirely. Within certain bounds they are as personal as fingerprints.”
    Fingerprints as another form of this book’s second story’s ‘finger-lace’? And there are many considerations within the lead-in of this S. story that, for me, addresses Nemonymity as well as Heteronymity and Proustian selves. I love the expression, embedded in the text, of “immortal anonymity.”
    This story is a story of Portugal in the 1930s, being a travelogue of a would-be boulevardier and journalist, one who usefully here compares the coastal and weather similarities of London and Lisbon. He actually meets dignitaries such as the President and Prime Minister, the latter being, on the face of it, a sort of Prince and the Pauper character, our protagonist meeting him again synchronously in a common tavern. Or does he? A highly tantalising treatment of those doubles and mimics as originals and fakes. This story seems like strolling, but it must have taken much exertion to bring this off. “…the fine art of wandering.”

  6. The Apostatical Ascetic by ALEXANDER SEARCH
    “In the early morning of Lisbon, I feel as though I’m nothing more than a spec of living dust upon the vast face of the earth; alone, yet cast among the multitudes.”
    A series of episodic monologues that remind me of the constitution of the ‘supreme being’ in the first story, Proustian selves as doppelgängers and the heteronyms of the other stories, ravelled through with Hallam’s rite of a rant. It becomes a gestalt of the nature of self and selflessness in interface with cosmic and theosophical influences, topping and tailing with such angels as the ‘angel of ambiguity’ and the ‘Angel of Annihilation’…
    The gestalt of these individually titled episodes flows mellifluously with complex undercurrents that paradoxically “nourish me with their simplicity”, touching upon destiny, the nature of perfection, incompletion against completion, the telling hindsight of misinterpretations about exiled prophets like Christ and Mohammed, the maze of the city streets wherein there is the tedium of the monologist’s office job, and, finally, those ‘fingerprints’ again, each of us leaving such prints in whorled lacework as a mappa mundi, I assume, upon all surfaces, even a surface such as this.
    “…the perfect combination of greatness and anonymity.”

  7. Le Panopticon de le Chevalier de Pas by CHEVALIER DE PAS
    “…and it was a complex combination of four languages producing new words and grammatical structures, yet without any effort we always knew exactly what they were saying at any time.”
    …and if a fiction work has a self that self-describes it, that is it. The four languages ostensibly include what those not suffering from“some exotic form of insanity” would include as words that are neologisms. Yet, I would prefer to call them: neonyms – and I might ever use this fiction work’s suggestion: ‘cryptonyms’. This magnificent mind-masque of a text indeed flows in inverse proportion to this book’s previous story’s simplicity to complexity, here more with the ease of reading something like Finnegans Wake, and if you then later merge this with Area X and [House of Leaves] and some works of Borges, and then merge these again with this book’s main Fernando Asspoe author-being-appreciated (from whose work there are here in the de Pas fiction some fragments shown with the by-line Fernando Pessoa) then you might have some idea of this work’s experience waiting for you. It is, on another level, a collage of verse and extracts and narration generated by a ‘force de tour’ — of the literary-living rooms in the de Pas house — a guided accompaniment and lecture of and to a friend by this friend’s friend the latter of whom seems to be having some trouble with his complexion and identity and, by entering the house, he becomes the by-line of this story shown above (a by-line that hides another by-line that I will not discover until I have opened the sealed black envelope that arrived with this book, the contents of which envelope, I infer, will reveal to me the ‘real’ names of each author in an act of Nemonymous-of-yore late-labelling, by attaching authors to stories). By entering this house yourself, what or who will you become?

  8. A Sea Sorrow In Triptych by A.A. CROSSE
    “…one of the most beautiful buildings in our city. Its delicate stonework shines white, like lace, beguiling and subtle;”
    I don’t think anyone will have EVER read a story quite like this substantive work, until they read it in this book, with its title like a movement in a contemporary classical music concert of last song cycles… I know that I have never read a story like this story. It is impossible to review. Suffice to say I feel it is exceeding its already carefully composed words as, easily, one sinks even deeper or rises even higher into its texture with more and more ravelling skeins of matchless prose, even while it progresses from Lisbon and its marriage of hopes, to the reality of the puzzle enthusiast back in, say, Hastings, and their resentful son who I sense goes off at the end to a New Crusade as a version of the same radicalisation of his enemies, and the moving borders of memory and truth, as well as of false states. There are states of being in this story, too, that plumb the very depths and I found myself weeping at how it is possible for anyone to write anything quite like some of the passages in this story. I am sorry. This is not a review. It is a single reaction among many reactions that I feel but cannot express. The self as past hope and the same self as present despair. Somehow, such utterness, though, gives me a modicum of hope from the fact that human literary expression can reach such awesome levels. I hope this does not sound over the top, but it is how I feel. And puzzles, riddles on large stiff white paper pages amid talk of tiny books with codes.

  9. …and after that almost unbearable emotional experience we are, with effective editorial positioning, now offered a romantic ‘fictionatron’ the airily provocative nature of which I have seen successfully expressed before but only by one particular unique author – until now…

    The Sublime Voyage of Ariana Aragão by EFBEEDEE PASHA
    “…it is a fallacy to assume that ghosts are always older than those they haunt.”
    This is a haunting time-threaded transporting (by conceit as well as by tram and ship) of seeing a balcony, from that ship approaching the harbour, a balcony on the skyline of the city of Lisbon and a glimpse of a beautiful woman upon that balcony, or a black box that seems to be a camera…
    It is impossible to itemise here all the details of this romance, its ‘photon’ palimpsests of time, a crew’s scrimshaw upon sail canvas, altered ambitions or sensibilities of the well-characterised individuals, but I can assure you that you will not forget the ‘perfect being’ (prefigured in this book’s first story and jammed upon by its other stories) that is woven like lace by all these characters and their yearnings and ‘palpable aches’, including yours, upon the very ‘Sighday’ when you read this story, mine being today. It is an inspiring fantasy that builds tracks (diaphanous as well as real) ahead of itself at will.

  10. …from romance to sex…

    A Body of Nostalgia with a Soul of Foam by DARIUS BLOCKHART
    “Lust — sitting in careless judgement on another flesh — is my surest guarantee of continuity within self.”
    Although this is not up my street as much as the stories so far, its monologue upon grinding loveplay, pervasive lust and other sexual fantasisation has moments of sheer linguistic brilliance within the themes of this book.
    One theme deriving from Asspoe, with much talk of a woman’s ‘ass’!

  11. The Man We All Imagined I Might Have Been by EMMANUEL GOLDING
    “After a day spent contemplating the catalogue of my previous selves I saw that there were few hours remaining into which to achieve a credible mode of existence,…”
    An engaging coda to this book, and that quote tells you as much as you need to know before you read it, as read it you must. The leitmotifs of the story will relate to us all equally, our own modes of existence, particularly current modes, even all modes as a gestalt of readers of this book, all 110 of us, but individually to each of us, such as the fear expressed in my review above of the first story, now at least partially and, no doubt, temporarily resolved, “my head ringing with a choir of angelic voices” amid life’s ‘funeral cortege’ and ‘anonymity of mud’, and the balloon sculptures in this story resonating with those in two casual short short fictions I wrote for TLO a few days ago here… Optimised by an amazing quote towards the end of this story, that completes my wonderful experience with the whole book: “…and startling connections, but it is crafted on a paper as thin as thought itself and when you try — concentrating desperately and with a trembling hand — to find the edges of its surface and unlock its mysteries, it has vanished into scars that hide within the whorls of your fingerprints…”
    The paper of this book is not thin but it does think.

    A book that is arguably this publisher’s greatest multi-authored anthology so far, one fitting to follow these worthy forerunners….
    Cinnabar’s Gnosis
    The Master in Café Morphine
    This Hermetic Legislature
    Among 64 priceless books in total so far since 2009.


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