A fearless faith in fiction — Employing a Kantian or Jungian sensibility and an ‘intentional fallacy’ consciousness — Various passions of the reading moment — Walter de la Mare, ELizabeth BOWen, Robert Aickman and many others old and new — Please click my name below for this site’s navigation and my backstory as intermittent photographer, writer, editor, publisher & reviewer.
Copy numbered 28/77. Luxuriously upholstered book with quality materials, about 10 inches square, 60 pages, marker ribbon, all generously designed with much artwork etc, dust jacket, embossed hardback cover and amber endpapers.
My previous reviews of Harold Billings’ work HERE.
My previous reviews of this publisher’s books HERE.
THE DAUGHTERS OF LILITH
The first story that is its own “spoor”, one that builds the truth-beyond-legend and beyond-inbreeding of Adam’s first wife before Eve, since Satan, and the crevices his sons sought, the writhings threaded, the cocks and screech-owls of our progenitors and how they sensuously managed, from the land of Sumer to that of Onan, their sparse, but rich-when-come couplings to further our race beyond race, a race or competition as inverse tontine that still subsists, I feel, today.
A luxuriant text beyond fiction that will stir you in more ways than one. Highly recommended.
This author’s sequel here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/the-ruins-of-eden-and-other-witcheries-harold-billings/#comment-10490
THE WITCH OF MOUNT CHIPINQUE
“…and you will remember that I have told you so.”
There surely can be no bigger contrast between the first story’s myth-textured eroticism and this refreshing romance between two young people on a group coach trip to the Mexican plains, along with other young people, escorted and being provided with a real witch to tell them of legends and collusive premonitions. Touching, almost naive.
WHERE SATYRS SLEPT
“…but ragged dreams filled their minds.”
And the apparent naivety of the previous story becomes less apparent – where several modern young people socialise and play the mating game with, now in hindsight, a hint of forced sex within a pair of them now taking on a stronger import – and taking a new slant when seen in tune with this third story that makes its own turn in tune with the first story’s gamesmanship and inverse tontine, of its own gamut of humankind’s Genesis of inbreeding, outbreeding and cross-breeding. And now that inbreeding takes on a new darker turn with the onset of satyrs as part of a cross-breeding process, an onset that appeared for the sons and daughters of Eve, Adam and Lilith, where ‘love’ and siring matches are made by result of shinbone or of the St Eve races, races for a race of people? And the stoical love of Nathan and Naomi for each other, and for their dog Jess, and the visitation of an old satyr by the name of Lexxie, a creature as old as some authors who have since become even older. And the ruthlessness needed against their progenitors, with the help of their dog, to ensure the loving couple’s full onward game of fate in breeding scions…to the further tune of the Stars’ swathe, path or pattern of astrologically harmonic destiny in the sky, I feel.
THE GAMES OF ST. EVE
“There was even attention paid to improving the intellectual attributes of the physically endowed virgins.”
This story is a delight, especially in the context of the whole book so far. From under the shadow of the Adam-Fallen, a gentle amoral sexuality and apolitical considerations of gender now prevail, with the previous hints of races and games take full sway, and even the satyrs’ involvement now non-inimical and collusive with split-hoofed races and consensual cross-generativeness. We follow Nate (the younger brother of Nathan whose own path we are relieved to hear news of) and Nate’s meeting with Glenda and we also follow the book’s own games and tontines now made manifest in an enthralling archery competition (a companion to the other races and naive bouts of naughts and crosses) – the result being a telling parallel with the fated happy ending of this book’s earlier modern story in Mexico.
I am worried that only 77 people are due to enjoy this important book and understandably pleased that I am one of those 77!
I already feel that I am a winner of one of those St Eve’s games. And there is still one more story to read…
COSMOS ENOUGH AND TIME
“I would lay rich land upon books, and books from words that cascaded from the madness and holy dreams of men,…”
This book becomes even more important, I suggest, as we negotiate this final work which, by its own terms, for me, represents an apocryphal coda, one where the sexual yearnings – yearnings for their own as well as for any resultant scions’ sake – blend with a Jewish diaspora across Europe from Spain, via a later pursuing evil nearer Bavaria or Transylvania, with darker lycanthropic cross-breeding than that with satyrs earlier in this book turned out to be, towards the Holy Land, now intervened or cross-triangulated by this work’s narrator as a trainee priest, in a soon to be snow-locked inn, a priest with his own naive sexual yearnings… but someone with sufficient wisdom, having read Browne and Shakespeare, a wisdom with which I trust the reader also becomes imbued so as to know what might lurk in the would-have-been virgin’s womb, and the honest ambitions of her companion family, a self-fulfilling premonition issued by the earlier witch in Mexico for a happier mating with the eventual fruition of further issue, an eventuality which brings tears of joy to any reader of this book worth his or her salt. Thereafter, this important book’s tontine now renamed by this final story as an “inverse crusade.”
It is always a pleasure to read a review by Des, perhaps especially so when it is one of the author’s own works! He is always thoughtful, at times absolutely entertaining, and a reviewer to whom one always turns first to discern a reader’s feel for one’s work, for the most part, as with this, a collection of stories that the author has not himself read for awhile since the work is in production and beyond editorial revisions, so one reads to what himself has written and writes on — generally with a variety of the application of the supernatural to what is fresh and perhaps never touched by another author: in the present a series based on stories from the fallen Eden. Just pray for luck, I tell myself, from this glorious reading by Des!
Des, you will recall my swap of forenames in the Lost Words. In my note to a jillion friends, I just swapped your surname for another. Sorry, but signs that someone apparently borrowed your name from me for a few seconds before returning it. –Harold
All wonderful synchronicity. 🙂