29 thoughts on “You Should Come With Me Now – M John Harrison


    “; or maybe it isn’t clear what’s going on —“

    This has the sort of audit trail as in Ishiguro’s ‘The UNCONSOLED’, starting a train journey in South London where I used to live over 20 years ago, via somewhere near Norwich to some unknown European city with modern paintings instead of modern classical music? Except those on the train are now diverted by communicative electronica like today… Thank your lucky stars: ‘Geev me five!” And a feeling of a clash of social classes, only connect: “you will always leave your umbrella behind.” And on the solicitor’s laptop there’s a sort of textual something that could have been included in ‘Lost & Found.’ And Railway Children waving.

  2. CRIES

    “At times they seem to move closer, the ways sounds do on a wind, especially in the night.”

    The unconsoled route prevails, now by obsessively digging through walls outward, with, later, a camera watching, relentlessly evoking Beckett, Brian Evenson, Aldiss’ Report on Probability A, towards (as I see later in the contents) imaginary reviews…? I feel I might be the said D digging through the said walls.


    “The house was full of wellwishers. Her women friends had long backs and sexy voices,”

    CIS in its modern form being embodied in this story’s real eponymity may be significant … or not. Whatever the case, this is a haunting tale of male-identified obsession akin to the earlier journey of WALLS. A loft in East Dulwich. I live in a Dulwich Road elsewhere, far from London. I have eaves-cupboards, not a loft. They come similarly into a new story of mine about to be published. The relationship of this man’s wife with her narrative Cicisbeo has tellingly restrained disarming strangeness. A wife of shared parental duty that her husband’s loft transcends for him. A classic story, for me. Just up my Whovian tarpaulined dusty street, if not my road. Come with me now, and see.


    “The nightmare of this novel is that among its characters nothing is being constructed. The only alternative to inertia, animalism and paranoia is magical thinking.”

    These book and film reviews are excellent, and I sense the reviewer known only as ‘Imaginary’ would make a worthy Gestalt reviewer. In fact, based on these reviews, particularly the one entitled BUTTERFLY, I sense he or she has already realtimed 4321 by Paul Auster, as I have done.


    “‘In this dream, are you yourself?’
    ‘I suppose I am,’ he said. ‘I never thought about it.’ Then he said; ‘I’m taller.’”

    It seems highly appropriate that I finished reviewing this morning here the IMPOSTER SYNDROME anthology, where the question ‘which one is me?’ is posed, among other Dopple gängers. This building gang of two are now doing a job on a church, where children leave their schoolwork on display. This building job and its frictions and gobbo glue and dismantlement and earlier WALLS seem akin to some of the effects of the alter ego of one of them chopping off heads with a sword in what he considers to be a recurring dream. Dental records should prove something? Teeth sometimes need a sort of gobbo to keep them stuck, too? With or without anaesthetic. And more than two shakes make a wank. A strangely telling fable.

    “People are expected to leave monuments to their tragedies, even though that makes them harder to forget.”


    “She can’t help but wonder how things will go with them when the Horde arrives at the Gate next Wednesday.”

    Within the gobbo and concrete and inner earth’s WALLS, I reckon, with dead kings satirised hilariously, and the onset of the Meghan Markle? Elfland as a trope for Brexit? I reckon we are at some tipping-point with that and Trump. And the flashmob hordes of Heritage.Com. Commons versus Lords.
    This book seems to have its own psychoarcheology within or below the words.
    This is a real-time review not an imaginary one. One with walls.


    “So, a heart sounds like obsolete white goods.”

    As a round-headed 70 year old man myself, I can truly recognise the hospital slots and goings-on. I can even empathise with being haunted by someone like me, if not by me myself. And I have this brain-itching, artery-walled story to thank for reminding me to take today’s atenolol that I had forgotten to do. Each tablet as tasteless and unyummie as clean swallowing makes it. And it also reminded me to take my blood pressure. A good result.


    “You must know that.”

    A very effective denial by man, in more than one sense. Seems perhaps more in oblique tune with our own recent times than originally intended?
    Seems also in mutual ironic connection with the previous ‘Places You Didn’t Think To Look For Yourself’ and with my coincidentally simultaneous real-time review of the IMPOSTER SYNDROME mentioned earlier.


    “The light, like seaside light, seemed to make the streets wider and more spacious.”

    A Bowen-esque series of nifty observations like practice smiles of a comatose woman in a hospital of Yummies, the cats who know the whereabouts of the Garden of Eden and a house’s dog smells and asthma. Although Bowen might not have written from the point of view of a man (the comatose woman’s son) with an over-attentive, ugly girl friend called Myra who picked him up at an Arts centre. But she might have written an excellent book about the man’s sister. And of Chiswick or Acton, if not Bow. Incidentally, I reviewed a very weird story by Aki Schilz recently specifically about psychoarcheological Hanwell. I wouldn’t touch Hammersmith with a barge-pole, though, nor would Myra. This book had Barnes earlier.


    “Other members of the crew will be Spike, Smork, Cookie & The Crow. &”

    Tge cock crew loud. There seems something Crowley about the Jackdaws being like the Crow is here (concurrent review) and now the Crow in those ADvenger placements, ads that Volsie also loves. Volsie is just like the easy morphing of sex and food and disease in a book that I concurrently review here, as is the earlier fur bush under Myra’s skirt suddenly presented to the reader. Also I just read Ralph Robert Moore’s latest story today one where there is toilet that speaks up if you have disease indications in your stools or urine, also one that mutually resonates with the Volsie Keep Smiling story.
    Volsie. I SOLVE what LOVE IS.


    “Some people associated the iGhetti with Dark Matter; some with the banking crisis of the late Noughties.”

    This is a major SF story of our times written from if not in the past, where I associate its astral jelly called iGhetti with Brautigan’s ‘iDeath’ of the 1970s, Ghettos not Spaghetti (not Ligeti, not even Ligotti), Internet triffids, Brexit, and Bitcoin. It is a gestalt of London sat-navigable (or not), a psychoarcheology from West to East, with a focus on the triangulated Square Mile, and those taken off the street and treated by hospitals to battle with such iGhetti, all from YOUR point of view, all your lifts outside your body like Lloyds? The unbaulkable coordinates.

    “Between anecdotal evidence and the spectacular misdirections of the news cycle lay gulfs of supposition, fear and denial.”


    “a regime of Crowleyism,”

    Or a regime of blog cronyism? In any event, a “murmuration” here, not a collective murder. And I am not sure whether I have transcended the psychoarcheology of this HOTEL-of-Leaves, however Ambient, and the slight name changes of its woman investigator, throughout. Very intriguing, though. Tantalising. Room 121 by MR James, followed by scrying the dead under a bridge, unless you yourself are the dead you are trying to scry? Ending with an Advenger space opera of a few lines.

  13. 19F972D9-7443-4F13-A9F8-8DAE4D7E7F0DANIMALS

    “; beyond it there was only flat light on the sand dunes and open beach.”
    A truly wonderful textured story for me, evoking a seaside locale, a woman hiring an archaeologically-psycho cottage for a fortnight, grappling with its landlady and the landlady’s dog, grappling with the ghosts of a middle-aged couple who might have once lived in the cottage but, above all, grappling with herself. The books left in the cottage bookcase include some enticing tomes but do not include Alan Bennett, Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Taylor or myself (cf ‘The Soft Tread’ in my latest Eibonvale Press book ‘The Big-Headed People’.) Cheek! Squash me cannily like a cranefly, I say.


    “art as an aspect of architectonic”

    “Winter. Late afternoon. Christmas is close. It’s on his heels.”

    Surrounded by riveted dreamliners as well as social media cams or cams to catch criminals or to find missing people (one missing person inside your own bodily architecture?) via a psychogeography of what earlier I mentioned above as Hanwell, and now a similar West London area, screen savers or photos of deep intensity taken of one specific area (my own psychogeography photos here scrolling down forever) to define that area as a found art like that in this wonderful book as well as seeking patterns for a gestalt of narrative archeology. Even a private detective needs to find his private self first. To stop feeling a heel. More ancient couples in Soft Tread. But rivets and offcuts and, possibly, more gobbo?

    “Worse, he is a psychogeographer?”

  15. A photo I took earlier this morning:


    “Later they go down to the water, where every high tide briefly strands three lumps of wood known as ‘The Three Marys’.”

    Cf. The Pretty Marys in a Row, of a just previously concurrent real-time review. These essays are delightfully dense, tactile, painterly-found and textured psychogeography of tides and light, Arnold Böcklin and Harry Price, the Thames and Barnes Bridge, later hosing down a pavement, and much more.

    My babies from sand yesterday – https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/frozen-beach-i-ii-iii/ You should have come with me then.


    ‘a kind of metaphysical chancerism’ …’We know nothing but we are in the know.’ … “Courses of brick rise above the couch grass and weeds.” …”sacralising the mundane” …

    This seems to be the psychoarcheological apotheosis of this book and, if I say so myself, of my long-seasoned methods of gestalt reviewing. It is a mighty ‘story’ of the substrate of the city as well as beyond the city, incorporating that old couple with a dog, all within an inscrutable locale with names to conjure with, names, too, of books and poetics like the modern music names plus disarming absurdism in Kazuo Ishiguro’s momentous THE UNCONSOLED and elements of John Cowper Powys. The Cantos entitled BREAM INTO MAN reminds me of the world-shaking IS IT A TENCH? in JC Powys. By the way, I live in an area of the country called Tendring, the coast of which is subjected to my own scavenging of Find Art and I thought at first that this quote said Tendring not Tending! “; and ‘Tending rubbish fires.’” The gobbo and Gaia.


    The first is obliquely evocative enough for my reading pleasure, but if you read it carefully and openly with today’s view of the likely outcome of Brexit (on this precise day that I read it), then it takes on an enormously important meaning and truth. The second has “acrylic gesso” and a scenario that reminds me constructively of the weird fiction of Adam Golaski. The third is a story of the narrator’s view of his relationship with Alexa, a woman with her sad parental backstory that haunts today’s obsessions with body weight which coincides with everyone now beginning to have just a thinly tenuous electronic personality. It takes a wise old fox like me to make that observation about it. Tellingly, its ending has a means of growing fat again, take your partner inside?
    You should become within me now. Anyone’s gesso?

  18. Earlier this morning….

    “I see your shadow on your wall, your small pile of objects.”

    Beautfully described items of found art at the seaside

    Found as is, two mornings ago…


    “Everyone knew full well they were behaving badly, whichever side they claimed to be on. There was nothing real left, nothing to be observed or reported-on except in terms of its reportedness.”

    A free-wheeling, multi-coloured, multi-repaired vehicle of a story careering from East to West London again, with Europe and other easy transits between, today’s political harbour with sunk warships, amid ordered memories you remember and those you forgot, stored not in your head but in a lock-up you pay for, all written up by JG Elizabeth, pitching a house of (ummm, which is your room?) student digs with a long corridor against a garden with a trompe l’oeil gate at its bottom, family with kids that you seem to know, you at the end of the HGW tether… psychodrama as a new coordinate of political geography. Swimming in ill sluices, too. A moving feast of you. Come with me now. Loved it.

    “I hate to travel in groups. Other people are less a comfort than you expect. You catch their anxieties. They edge their ways into your head.”

  20. A WEB

    An objective-correlative in the first of a spider’s web as a sail to aid return visits to and returns from Autotelia, a consuming blend of Harrison himself, Christopher Priest’s Dream Archipelago, Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, and ‘The UNCONSOLED’ by Ishiguro, survivor guilt and vanishment in vanishable archaeology of the mind as well as matter (“a concreted layer, an identity”), an empty cinema, my sense of dozy accretive old age in the second title above, old age in the third now transcended (‘Age has to find its expression in new ways.’) with jetstream dreamliners, grains of sand as found art, distance and journeys deceptive, suspended light over sea and sand, dislocated colonnaded ruins, whitebait…

    “For years I’ve kept these fragments floating around one another — it’s such an effort — attracted into patterns…”


    “You can’t be rulers if you have no country to rule.”

    0EAEE0C8-7F7C-46E0-ABD1-055F380DE671Braving this book in the warm of my chalet bungalow (the Soft Tread of my wife upstairs) on a cold frosty seaside morning outside (photograph taken about an hour ago.) In the second, I see a man with a tarpaulin bag with his items for self-storage or for the tarpaulin loft in Cicisbeo. The third is substantive, and with clues such as a funicular railway up to West Hill I knew it was some consuming version of Hastings (a very important place in my youth.) This work is the whole book’s eponymous apotheosis as well as its haunting themes, I guess, but who is following whom, who is being enticed to come NOW? Also, a possible woman’s drowning at the end significantly links with my already ever-concurrent review or co-voyeuring of THE DROWNING GIRL here, together with a vision of the spate of paintings on show, “They were all called ‘Woman from the Sea’, with a hashmark and a number.” Focus as a would-be religion, at an age when focus tends to fade? “…a midnight passeo“ also a midnight Pessoa?
    The short fourth allowing us to stay and dwell upon this inspiring book’s voice that lingers on.


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