Drowning In Beauty – the neo-decadent anthology


Edited by Justin Isis & Daniel Corrick


Stories by Brendan Connell, Justin Isis, Damian Murphy, Yarrow Paisley, Ursula Pflug, Colby Smith, Colin Insole, D.P. Watt, Avalon Brantley, Daniel Corrick, Quentin S. Crisp, James Champagne.

My previous reviews of Snuggly Books HERE

Whenever I read this anthology, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

5 thoughts on “Drowning In Beauty – the neo-decadent anthology

  1. The first 3 items are non-fiction:
    INTRODUCTION by Daniel Corrick

    The first story in the book is by BRENDAN CONNELL and is in deliberate and aggressively harsh contiguity with the soft Royal Wedding today broadcast live to the world from Windsor about an hour ago. Though, the bride herself had an attractive sharp-eyed patina.
    I first reviewed this story in 2011 here and below is what I then wrote about it in that context…

    Molten Rage

    “Massimo arrived back at his car, but it was booted. He shrugged his shoulders and threw his car keys into the the gutter.”

    I keep my door-key on the same key-ring as my car-keys.  All keys are a form of escape. And Massimo lives in a an industrial nightmare that is Milan (brilliantly described) and in a Magic Realism blending Joel Lane and Peter Carey, inter alios, the Leftist truths (for some, dilemmas) including direct action, are canvas-tested with ‘dabs or paints’ of words, including sniffing out dreams that risk us flying without wings in gold sunsets sown with “silicates” and “stigmata“.  To boot a car, is to kick it or remove its back-lid or ‘graft’ a clamp to its wheels like stitching angel-wings clumsily to a man’s back in more hope than expectation of flying or to turn the ignition as one would boot up or kick start a computer.  There are many other keys (some I still hope to find as they were never on my key-ring in the first place before I threw it away), keys to unlock the doors to this gloriously ‘painted’ fable of cruel modern industrial reality, artistic aspiration and revolution-in-the-streets so relevant to facing out those fosterers of our own gathering autocratic austerities as well to the Arab Spring (if not to today’s April sunshine outside) or to this book’s earlier Spartan warriors now heard at our doors (rattling keys). (10 Apr 11 – four hours later)

    My previous reviews of BRENDAN CONNELL: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/brendan-connell/

  2. THE QUEST FOR NAIL ART by Justin Isis

    “, a detachment from the decade’s worth of exhausted designs.”

    We live in decade gulps, I reckon, and this is my first gulp of gestalt. When I just now, this morning, finished this story – the day after, as it were – I pencilled the word WOW! at the end. This is one of those reading experiences that seem like a watershed, one you cannot miss whatever else you may miss to allow it into your toppling reading eyes, here a smooth, somehow luxuriously strident work of fiction, about Erina, stage name Rumika, a hostess and nail artist, feeling old and organ-splitting at age 22, connecting with an outrage of phone calls, her doorbell ringings, texts, this text teeming with status updates, stalkers and stalked, emptying to allow more in, conniving, collisions, collusions, and such mind-smacking magic of detail about her nail art and backstory. But also so utterly smooth and accessible to read. A mix of the Meghan image from yesterday and much much more, read it and see. So completely powerful. If this is what nemo- or neo-decades are about as a movement, then give me more. Stage names and her numbered boy friends galore. Masochism with envy folders. Aura stretched distances. Inferior nails the biggest sin. The concept of seasonails (my word for seasonal nails). The deepest nails, as some sort of embracing of stigmata? The empathy, or not, of massage. On-line reviews of nail bars and nail marklings. And at the end even Okada (as I later saw to be myself intruding) was rightly spurned.

    My previous reviews of JUSTIN ISIS:

  3. 0B303B02-FBE2-43D0-A29D-A2087B2D89C1
    A MANSION OF SAPPHIRE by Damian Murphy

    “She often amused herself, knowing that few would read her handiwork, by slipping linguistic ambiguities, absurdly detailed descriptions, unintuitive turns of phrase, and blatant contradictions into her translations.”

    At times a homing pigeon within the game, Stella plays it in a retro fashion with a ZX Spectrum by loading cassette tapes, a process that I and my son (with whom I have just checked) remember, well, him better than me. It is effectively the LP vinyl version of Damian Murphy in ritual process, with language to match, and it is surely supreme for all Damian lovers. With the congress of her daily translation duties and her times off from choosing her own route to resplendent adventure on the retro-religious kick, you can hardly wonder why this might become a classic, especially when splurged with a sapphire centre upon a Mansion’s Compass. It also resonates with the ritual path of this book’s previous story, when there instilling emojis on her route of status updates. Here, Stella has a Moleskine notebook. If this is neo-decadence, then give me more of it. The ultimate ‘colour-clash’, included.

    “She passed encoded missives back and forth…”

    My many reviews of DAMIAN MURPHY: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/damian-murphy/

  4. ARNOLD OF OUR TIME by Yarrow Paisley

    “The moment stretched. Secrets passed back and forth, billets-doux of consciousness, cherished missives stolen from the courier of time and savoured in the vault of sentiment.”

    …as does the pigeon post women in the previous two stories, now a young man, a gradually self-identifying Arnold, on his shoe berg or a bus journey worthy of ‘The Parry and the Lunge’, and I took it to be a sort of Pilgrim’s Progress with capitalised allegories or archetypes of people, including sex objects without intending distaff exploitation, the Grand Ma Ma, and Others, as if John Bunyan had written it as a rite of passage towards Ice Cream Heaven or Disco Martyrdom, with tingle, to untangled to untingled. The Hawt Sauce was the hawl-light for me. And its essence of Dadaoism (sic), if possibly not Neo-Decadence.

    My previous reviews of YARROW PAISLEY:

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