9 thoughts on “The Warren – by Brian Evenson

  1. Pages. 7 – 22

    “For me, memory is not only at times flawed and corrupted but also overlapped and confused, one personality hiding parts of another, blending too, so that the selves within my head…”

    I have not completed that quote from this book, because I am not sure whether I shall get out of this warren of words, should I do so, and if I do get out, whether I shall get back in again and be recognised for what I am — but anything containing concepts such as in that incomplete quote is certain to magnetise me further into this book, with my having had a life-long interest in Proustian selves. Equally, I can see that Proust has an over-rich tenor when compared to the sparer, leaner prose of Evenson. And then I suddenly remembered that earlier today I was progressing with my review of Samuel Beckett’s complete short fiction and my entry today here about his “From An Abandoned Work” seems coincidentally and amazingly apposite to what I have so far read in this Evenson book.

    • Pages 22 – 40
      img_2517“Everything was once connected, responded the monitor. Everything still is.

      An intriguing continuation of the narrator’s speculation about the warren, its monitor and his separateness or not from a man called Horak…
      Just as intriguing perhaps – I said earlier that this text has a spareness and leanness, at least when compared to the oft-thought over-rich texts of Proust, but of which (along with Beckett) this fictional journey so far otherwise reminds me. But sticking out like a ‘sore thumb’ here is the word ‘flavescent’ to describe the colour of some, presumably untypical, blood. The type of yellowishness, for the record, shown on the design above is an example of flavescent as a colour. Also in the Scott Moncrieff translation of Proust’s ‘The Captive & The Fugitive‘ we have this: “I raised my eyes to those flavescent, frizzy locks and felt myself caught in their swirl and swept away, with a throbbing heart, amid the lightning and the blasts of a hurricane…” [A flavescent is also the name for a sort of songbird.]

  2. Pages 40 – 66

    “The flesh will learn to be subject to me.”

    This is an entrammelling journey, a quest in a warren of words not just for the self but for the self’s body from within an alphabetical series (centred on the vagus nerve?), not an existentialism of eschatology, as in Beckett or Sartre, but rather it is perhaps uniquely an existentialism at the other end, at the point of natalism, something that has already given ironic and inadvertent birth to anti-natalism in, say, Ligotti, but in Evenson it is a trial and error of survival as a unique being. A Proustian process.
    A warren not of Chambers’ lethal chambers but of birth ones?
    I, too, am feeling my own interpretative way here, as in my own warren of dreamcatching. I am either hitting on genuine solutions in the form of plot-spoilers (for which I apologise) or complete nonsenses (for which I do not apologise). For example one of the identities here is Wollem – mellow yellow?

    “…we are vomiting a yellow fluid that slowly colors red.”

    • Pages 66 – 93

      Lie down and die, the muffled chorus within me suggested, but that other me, the one currently in charge of the body that conveyed all of us, refused to give up.”

      Like a Greek Chorus taking ownership of the statues in a de Chirico painting?
      Well, part of me feels incredibly smug (does not a Petite Madeleine cake dunked into a cup of tea make the tea more flavescent?)…
      Another part or me feels incredibly crass.
      Read this novella and tell me what you think. I dare not say more for fear of real spoilers. Other than the fact that it is a mighty work. Lean and spare as well as flavescent.
      The secret is to ask the right questions.


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