12 thoughts on “Age of Blight – Kristine Ong Muslim

  1. A paperback with over 100 pages, and generously decorated with black and white photographs and other items of artwork

    A NOTE ON THE PLACES IN THIS BOOK

    “Our lives, as well as those of our ancestors and descendants, are elaborate mythologies that intertwine…”

    A lighthouse on an island, among other places with names, at the window of which regularly appears a man. (Cf my review of ‘The Light of Adria’ inside a book called INNER EUROPE that I reviewed in the last few days…) And if that man is meant to be me, I feel slightly scolded by the tone of this preface!
    By the way, if a dead human body is found after eleven years, is it surprising that it hasn’t aged? I now turn to the book proper, with an initially jaundiced eye. On further thought, perhaps the body connects with the KOM quote on the back cover? The Age of Light, not Blight?

  2. I. ANIMALS

    7B8BFE88-4DA2-46B6-833A-E7B62AED348B
    LEVIATHAN

    Lighter THAN what? Air or deliberate levitation?
    This is a story of news management, explaining away the botched recovery of this rare mythic beast, not rare, but tantamount to impossible. Botched despite your trying to instal artificial gills into the now dead specimen of myth. News management read about here on the very day that two Russian mugshots come to life as grizzled tourists of an English cathedral city. The ‘Black Static’ photo shows Nemonymous, there, a few years ago, alongside that impossibly tall spire. “Behold the beast.”

    “—honed (sic) in on the low , steady humming only it could hear.”

  3. THE WIRE MOTHER (or HARRY’S BOOK OF LOVE)

    “‘I’m only going to be around another ten years. What I’d like to do, then, is leave a great big mess behind.’ If that was his aim he did a perfect job. […] …as he hurtled toward his great all-American dream and the pageantry that went with it,…”

    For this book first published in 2016 and this story first published in 2014, I wonder what the word ‘pageantry’ was a euphemism for? Talking of cacophemisms, though, in the 1990s, some of my published stories featured “the all-American thumper-monster.”
    This is also a powerfully disturbing account of the ‘nurture and nature’ series of experiments using baby monkeys as conducted by Harry F. Harlow, featuring fabricated cloth-mothers and wire-mothers. As narrated by one of the wire mothers!
    I am only going to be around another ten years, too.

  4. THE GHOST OF LAIKA ENCOUNTERS A SATELLITE

    “You should know that there are no speed bumps in zero gravity.”

    A touching and disturbing and detailed narration by LAIKA about the trip in a Russian satellite and the backstory in a car, an event that is well within my living memory if I knew about it at all at the age of 9. Pavlov’s Dog nature and nurture in this first section headed ANIMALS. Towards the monumental gestalt of all of us, including our other experimented-upon friend called Gaia, I guess.

    Recommended additional reading: LOOKING FOR LAIKA by Laura Mauro that I reviewed here.

  5. II. CHILDREN

    NO LITTLE BOBOS

    “Anyone who does not look and talk like us is the enemy.”

    Experiments, now with strict time limits, on children, regulated experiments regarding how aggression is acquired, with use of the eponymous Body Odour dolls that mean there are no dolls except a sense of pungent bodyself, just the “me” waiting to emerge from the amorphousness of a child’s mind. Anne Fender’s regulated breast milk, as an eventual mutuality of competitive existence?

  6. THE PLAYGROUND

    From the wire mother of The Wire Mother, the bonsai wire-training in the previous story, and the wire-enclosed playground here, we now have meaning in the changelings, foundlings and lostlings of the “Happens all the time” syndrome of our own times.

  7. ​THOSE ALMOST PERFECT HANDS

    “, a dream became its own interpretation.”

    A quote for this book’s gestalt? A curse purely to break another curse. A form of death for those already dead. Marty’s way of dealing with being made self-conscious of his autonomous hands. An autosuggestion from his Grampa Des. Puppet wires can reach everywhere?

  8. JUDE AND THE MOONMAN

    “…we had no choice but to endure the treatment, because that was how the world worked.”

    …the same with this book, an acceptance where it takes you, sometimes deadpan on its part, sometime on your part as reader. Taking some things for granted. Here a group of older kids, a group like Blyton’s, maybe, one of them you, or me, more like, an acceptance of order, a pecking order of bullying or befriendment, and by some form of narrative radiating from or to each of us, the knowledge that someone who might have been human becomes an indescribable monster. Becoming it by stages. Best to get it bang out of order, if so. The sooner the better is best. I know better, I guess.

  9. DOMINIC & DOMINIC

    “What’s dead stays dead.”

    We now have Dominic, a six year old boy who one day transcended this book’s autonomous hands and planted his cut fingernails in the ground and later told his too busy “Mother” of an “Other” gradually growing from them. Until this Other became another him. Chewed down to the cuticle self. Leaving a Doppelgänger or Drogulus called Dominic. All of us hard ungulates at heart made to soften our horns by recognising what this powerful fable tells us. Brings deadpan to new levels.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s