DEATH CAMP DREAM SONGS
By Matt Leyshon
Dunhams Manor Press 2014
My previous reviews of Matt Leyshon works HERE
I intend to real-time review this work and, when I do, it will be found in the thought stream below or by clicking this post’s title above.
THE PLACE OF MY DREAM-SONG
“Whilst the death camp remained a very European solution to the European problem, its repugnant honk could still have competed globally.”
An iconoclastic theme and variations, I judge, upon ‘The Willows’ by Algernon Blackwood; a densely poeticised prose about the Swede, as she and Rat negotiate the scatological / eschatological undergrowth of words just as much as they do the islands and willow-moles of the Danube itself. A mulch of a corpseland that echoes the European migrant drownings and camps that have happened possibly since the book was written, as well as the non-didactic art for art’s sake reprises of all such mass flashmobs that spread across European history. Marcel Schwob’s ‘strigae’, Brendan Connell’s cannibals, now expressed in Weirdtongue. An oozing dereliction of a Narrative Hospital as written by Tarr and Tzara as well as Fether.
I have read only one story in this book so far, but I already know it is definitely being added to this honoured room HERE.
GOD’S DERELICT ELECTRON
“An intense quietness raped the mould, rising and falling with the incomprehensible strangeness of a papal Antichrist.”
I can’t quite believe I am reading some of this! But it all seems to flow into the brain and make a sort of froth on the dream, a rough-beast-slouching-toward-the-sargasso sort of carnicky gruesense. A sort of CERN Zoo crew of the Higgs boson, masterman unready, midshipman hard, upon all manner of roads across the ocean, plus gooey song-lines incubating the roadkill of the depths, with wet towels slapping the side of the hull like waves.
Honestly, if this is not literature, there is no Hope left for a middle name.
“Murder, cannibalism, feasting upon horses on Good Friday and causing sickness in yew trees.”
An apocalyptic post-holocaust scenario? Not so much that but an extrapolation of the Way We Are Now whereby even presumably good people turn out to have been bad towards good things like children and yew trees: a picaresque journey across the UNDO LUCK land to the background, perhaps, of Bartlett’s WXXT on the radio? I felt spoiled by reading this, a continuous relentless plot spoiler in itself, without any help from me. From Rite of Passage to Write of Pain. From Tour to Rout. A dysfunctional dystopia. And to be spoiled is to be renewed? ‘Fell to the floor and danced’.
HANDS IN YOUR DARKNESS
“The sky above Nantwitch is a rare and bloody steak that drips its juice all over the old town of Leddenton.”
Joanne, from living in her sty, travels the Land, amid peni bears and borderland pigs and perhaps migrant willow-moles, seeking the Nantwich Munter. A sort of JC Powys version of Pan Horror with elements of James Joyce and Saki, as well as Leyshon himself: and I try to vocalise it as an audio book within my head. In fact I would LOVE to read it aloud. There would be no need for sounds effects. The words are their own sound effects.
I might listen to it at night on earphones while in bed before falling asleep. Like hands inside my skull, I am sure I would not notice at which point I travelled from waking to dreaming. Sleep itself would cower in the corner of my bedroom not daring to come near.
OH GOAT LAD, COME WHISTLING TO THE RATS
“When he stopped for an instant to look at the sea his thoughts sent out a buttery cone and the landscape seemed to glow within it.”
I warn you. Don’t read this book lightly. Curiosity killed the cat.
A Professor in a MR Jamesian mission to rid the place of HPL’s rats in its walls, involving a Goat Lad, whistling and various acrostic incantations.
I am off to the beach now, my head full of words that stick to the sides. I need to get them out, somehow.
“It had all begun a few weeks previously when he had been unpleasantly assailed in his bed. Waking from an afternoon nap his brain had been disturbed by an interloper from within, a Thought so intense that he could almost feel it.”
I think I sort of predicted that Thought within the skull preternaturally by my previous entry or two, written before reading this section!
And this final aberration of the ‘Death Camp Dream Songs’ book with its THOUGHT seems to encapsulate the ‘red pit’ (or Cartesian Pineal Gland) from ‘Cannibals of West Papua’, as well as the religious angsts, heresy against heresy, orthodoxy versus orthodoxy, various permutations, spiritual and fleshy conflicts and hook-ups, many creaturely concoctions and cannibalistic, hellish implications, scatologically and eschatologically splattering the page. Rider Haggard, seasoned with soupcons of Graham Greene, and Guy de Maupassant’s The Horla and, of course, Luckundoo by Edward Lucas White. And LEYSHON as a new LANGUAGE.
There is no practical way the authors of HORLUNDOO and CANNIBALS OF WEST PAPUA will already have read each other’s works with those titles, but they should do so without delay. While they are totally different works, they have the ‘red pit’ or THOUGHT snatched from each head respectively and blended after the event to produce each of their works RETROCAUSALLY.
An actor should read the works aloud on Radio WXXT.
The Leyshon book as a whole is a stunning horrorisation of horror, and horrors fight back against their wild satires of themselves and vice versa, including Connell versus Leyshon, perhaps cancelling each horror out, back and forth, until providing a new blank canvas for a new life, a new world. The ultimate Narrative Hospital. Seriously.
My recent review of THE CANNIBALS OF WEST PAPUA here.
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