14 thoughts on “Europa – Karim Ghahwagi

  1. IMG_3608I am sporadically breaking my reviewing sabbatical by dint of a brief nonce…
    Luxuriously upholstered book with quality materials, guessing about 13 inches by four, marker ribbon, all generously designed with artwork etc, stiff paper and even stiffer dust jacket, and illustrated endpapers.


    Up to page 26
    I note that the dust jacket has arguably a vague image of Amerika? Which is ironic as this book, judging by the first 26 pages, may well be a whodunnit and ‘where have these pages been printed before’ as investigated by Detective Isle Denmark about the vanishing of Amerika (especially in the new light of Trumk there and Breksit in Europa?)…further themes and variations on this authors’s own work that I have reviewed before (as linked in the heading of this review), Blakean and Bulgakovian, as well as uniquely and sublimely Ghahwagian,
    For this book’s pages 9 to 26, please see my review of Wollstonecraft here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/all-is-full-of-hell-a-panegyric-for-william-blake/#comment-10012 … The interesting footnote on page 10, notwithstanding. And that Karim is tantamount to an anagram of Amerika, if you use the E of Europa and its extra A.

  2. Pages 26 – 32

    “‘A coincidence.’

    I think Mr Sweden, when faced with the Senior Censor, is a projected version of the author himself, or a character between a real writer of fiction’s ultimate truth and a ghost writer for an empire’s supremo, between epic poet and pamphleteer, between himself and Emanuel Swedenborg / or Immanuel Kant.
    Between writing sequels for William Blake or Mikhail Bulgakov.
    Between a hyphen (with no spaces) and an en dash (with spaces either side); and I already publicly warned those connected with this book about it here in 2012:
    “(with typographically conjoined hyphens liberally peppered instead of ‘loose’ en-dashes as some sort of symbol that towns and text are also mis-conjoined)” which now seems even more relevant… Between borders-or-nations and human beings as the Empire, for the Supreme of which he is to ghost-write an autobiography.
    And, to give us some further clue, this is what he currently says on his own website about the book we are reading:
    Travel writers, detectives, bureaucrats, epic poets, underground pamphleteers, and other general practitioners of the Dark Arts, and connoisseurs of the Fifth Dimension, please take note: Albion’s Ancient Forges are once more alight with infernal fire. In bold newspaper headlines it is writ: AMERIKA HAS DISAPPEARED AND EUROPA IS NEXT

  3. Pages 32 – 41

    “‘It is just one word,’ Mr. Cro corrects him, ‘without a hyphen.'”

    A compound word with or without one of this book’s brexited ‘Gaps’ to neutralise one or more of this book’s trumpish ‘Walls’, & I feel I am in a blend of the Milligan 1969 film ‘The Bed-Sitting Room’ and Oliver Smith’s ‘Burnt the Fire of Thine Eyes’ and DP Watt’s ‘Conflagration’ and Malcolm ‘Volcano’ Lowry’s or James ‘Quarantined City’ Everington’s Carousel, here complete on top with a chimney-sweep boy singing Parry’s and Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’, plus a reference to Blake’s ‘Milton’ or is that Milton’s ‘Blake’s Seven’? Other than all that, I don’t know where I am!
    CAPITAL LETTERS, galore!

  4. Pages 41 – 54

    “Europa, a jigsaw of states enclosed at every border and crossing by the Great Walls…”

    I am going mad or this book is, in a good way, because any book with a passing reference to a character called Mr Brexit must be one of *constructive* madness. An inversion of an inversion, where hyphens are argued about by characters (the book itself also having arguments with its own hyphens and dashes) and a London waxwork museum has a classload of kids visiting, as led by their teacher Mrs Oslo, spies and things, plus an invasion of mannequins or mimes to replace the museum’s official effigies of the Supreme Chancellor of Europa, who has just announced his own visit to the museum, plus reference to a secret entrance, at Buckingham Palace, to Chicago in the missing Amerika… Inter alia, inter alios.
    This is a book of collaged cabinets. Inside my brain. To the musical backdrop of Ligeti, not Ligotti. And other footnotes.

  5. Pages 54 – 69

    “Send the mime to the oven.”

    … to forge Amerika from the Fires of Europa by absurdist literary-Blakean-Bulgakovian means (‘Amerika is already here’), where the k is a reference to KoreA? Whatever, the case there are mind-blowing mannekin-mimes and puppet-baboon-sculpture effigies as an orgy of memes, where the arrival of the real Supreme at the Albion waxworks seems to be only his empty ceremonial military uniform walking! A mosaic of Polaroids, endless tiers of adolescent biographies, a brief mention of David Bowie and Nigel Farage, and the earlier glimpse of Mr Brexit fleshed out, leaving “twenty-seven layers of opaqueness” as the residual Europa?
    And my review’s now apparent prophetic reference above from a passing footnote indicates music and literature also forging each other: “The Ligetti opera continued to play…” SIC

  6. Pages 69 – 77

    “I know how it works, I know how Gaps think.”

    A talking smile, robins arising like smoke from a phantom limousine towards the erstwhile mutual Sistine ceiling, I am guessing, a whole panoply of agents, double agents, triple, agents, to trap those who resist or encourage immigrants. A mad novella even madder than our own mad world makes our world seem sane! Twenty-seven names, twenty-seven years, four zoas. And Berlioz. What more could you want? Only this purest beauty of literature as its whole contextual paragraph wherein it appears –

  7. Pages 77 – 86

    “‘The story has been etched and bound in the events that have shaped it,'”

    Indeed. Handle this book and you will know what that means.
    Here, I feel — via a blend of crossing between and over various Great Walls of Europa and rebound Amerika and via Stephen-Kingian dark-tower ‘doors’ or gaps and through Bish-Bosch’s famous garden-of-earthly-delights without hyphens where I sense Trump, amid orange forges, will be eating all the mannequins, skeletons, gorillas and disfigurettes in zombie hordes — the Mistral Express train (cf King again) reaches Brooklyn where Denmark seeks his Margarita (Ms Thel?). And I feel a lot more in this Spinradian apocalypse and eventual resolution, we hope, including the start of EPILOGUE: THE DEVIL IN GOLGONOOZA, but feeling is not enough with this book. You have to absorb it to your and its bottom bone. Pistons of Or-Ulro, American refugees, blackened giants, a legless old man, et al.

  8. Pages 86 – 98

    “Outside, the Great Train came to a stop at Gara de Nord, in Bucharest, Romania.”

    This book itself is indeed a euROpa mania – “HOLLYWOOD, GOLGOTHA, MOUNT ABRAXAS…” And now (with the end of the EPILOGUE and the whole of the POSTSCRIPT) shades of Marienbad … or ‘Parsifal’ with Siegfried Jerusalem (the opera version I know best), Knights Templar, other literary references galore, too numerous to mention, and a culmination of quest in Margarita-Denmark (Master and Margarita), Katerina-Sweden, and, for me, a sort of Spot the Trump game – the Devil, the Supreme Chancellor, the Dragon, or even the Travel Writer himself, with Russian help? Even if I could give the game away, I wouldn’t. Serpent ‘slug’ over his shoulders and he ‘excites’ the tunnel, even a tiny few alleged typos meaning something important along with the dashes and hyphens? The Dirge of Eno, too, as Pope’s bathos. A truly mammoth masterpiece for our times in 90 pages.


  9. Pingback: Europa Interview and reading at Bibliophage |

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