9 thoughts on “The Secretariat of Tenebrous Anatomies – Karim Ghahwagi & Bethany White

  1. 0BE09039-C6E7-47D4-A9B9-53A623AA4680
    Left is an extract from Bethany White’s “Board”.
    There are also two stylish-looking booklets written by Karim Ghahwagi.
    All above a unit (seemingly with a black compass); mine are numbered 3/40.
    The novella has over 30 pages.
    The rulebook over 90 pages.

  2. “Because the game, as a prayer, allows each of us a repetition of certain points of the nature of God through formulas that, once memorized, can be repeated in silence, in the confines of our mind, of our dreams.”
    — Alcebiades Diniz Miguel

    Through one mask to another mask?

    Novella by Karim Ghahwagi
    Pages 1 – 5

    “Envisioned as part role-playing game and part boardgame,…”

    The game’s inventor (he tells us here of this invention) also works in a sort of Ligottian company and is asked to replace his recently dismissed supervisor, i.e. to be the supervisor himself, and he seeks to consult this supervisor outside the company to help supervise his own way forward in the circumstances of that role. I will not tell you more than you need to know before reading this work. To describe the nature of the game, beyond the above quote of surface envisioning, is beyond my own role. Unless the author tells me where I am going wrong? No, because by dint of the long-seasoned literary theory of the Intentional Fallacy, when you have written some fiction or poetry and after it has been published, you are no longer its author but just another reader … but still someone worth consulting if only in that role as another reader. A triangulation (or secretariat?) of readerly coordinates. The more readers the better, especially when dealing with any tenebrous anatomies.

  3. “I have now read ‘Metaphysica Morum’, but not yet read ‘The Small People’. I don’t think it’s any accident that Olan is an anagram of Loan, a loan being a two way ‘deal’, infecting and benefiting both ways, just as ‘demoralise’ is, in its modern sense, to make someone lose hope but, in its archaic sense, to strip someone of morals.”
    From my 2014 review here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/the-spectral-link-by-thomas-ligotti/

    Ghahwagi’s novella…
    Pages 7 – 10
    That supervisor the narrator has superseded is called Sloan, note ‘loan’.
    And the firm’s business with which he and Sloan were involved: AFTERLIFE INSURANCE™.
    I am grabbed by this material, but I am determined to slowly savour it.

  4. Pages 10 – 16

    “…even greater challenges and puzzles. This pattern in my own thinking, I had come to define as the Conundrum Complex.”

    I rôled a dice, myself, and it told me not to divulge the secrets of this book, but I can say that it’s a mixture of a game, a detective story and a method to join with your dead ones via séances and places called Cenotaphs. The fact that the narrator bends the truth – when dealing with one whom he befriends during his path of investigation – makes me think there are rules that can be bent in the game of this gestalt real-time review that somehow supersedes the game in the plot. Or, horror, vice versa? (Notwithstanding the make up of the secretariat of you other readers?)

  5. Pages 16 – 22

    “Eighteen months at the company, and I had never ventured above the fifth floor of the building.”

    Essential Corporate Horror fiction or an ultra-real post-Ecrisis rôle-playing boardgame? Probably both.

    “Now, a company is like a living, breathing entity, and every single one of you gathered here this afternoon, form an integral part of that body.”

  6. Pages 22 – 26

    “He encouraged me to go see the other Mr. Minion two floors higher up.”

    It seems synchronous that today recriminatory levels of security clearance are reported in the American newspapers, well, in all our newspapers. Keynotes – and telling, too, in this work, that men named Minion are at higher levels… reports of Sloan’s “spiritual malaise”, and the codes and game points etc. we need to garner as readers or participants. Some beautifully worded passages in these sections, as if tapped into some reality of which even the freehold writer is unaware?

  7. Pages 26 – 31
    Thus the first luxurious booklet furls its novella – the narrator’s relationship with a deepening or, rather, heightening knowledge of the corporate building and the closing game rules of “difficult ground” and “destroyed ghosts”, and I am constructively reminded of the ambiance of my latest favourite fiction work, THE UNCONSOLED by Kazuo Ishiguro. The Ghahwagi novella’s own context within its own gestalt of parts has yet to be fully examined – and I keep my powder dry.

  8. “The Lost City is filled with many dangers…”


    I am not an expert on rôle-playing games. The last one I played was Dungeons and Dragons in the late 1970s.

    This is a 90 page rulebook for a real or imaginary game; I leave you to decide which.

    It seems to have Ghahwagi’s darkly evocative flair evident in the novella.

    The astonishing Board by Bethany White is about 12 by 16 inches as a guesstimate, a slightly gritty brown and flexible parchment with black and red inking upon it. You can pore over it and gain Escherine and other depths and dimensions. It needs to be seen first and foremost in the curling flesh, as it were.

    I will leave you there, as I would not be a guide more dependable than yourself. Suffice to say, I am very intrigued and will hopefully be able to seek the opinion of my friends more suited to an assessment of this game, whether real or imaginary.

    The contents page…


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