15 thoughts on “Hidden Folk – C.M. Muller


    “As a teen he had longed for a kind of alchemical absorption into these old black and white photos.”

    … as the rest of the particularly brief story slowly rolled out through to his seeking his inheritance in the unmapped eponymity as an inheritance of self….
    Very Real As Negative Growth Retreat.
    If there are comparative and superlative degrees of real?



    “…he had been reading too many imaginative books as of late.”

    This may not be imaginative at all, though, but very real.
    Dare I say, this is a potential classic ghost story of a boy caring for his increasingly ailing mother in face of a dust child stalking her – and more. Disarmingly simple, yet intense and predictably memorable.
    Very impressed.

  3. Hyper-imagination as a conduit for the more real?


    “…and he could not shake the idea he was looking at himself from behind.”

    Stream of Callshifts and Colleagues in the Centre one of whom may be you, co-resonant with the Royle Dummy works (reviewed here).
    Stream of photos, both real and digital, backstory: loss of father, wife’s miscarriage, daughter’s misbirth or miscarried phone…
    ‘qeej’ instrument of your racial or historic beliefs, a cross between a flute and a phone’s trilling.
    Wife’s shutins growing. The very real as negative growth of retreat?
    Suffocated wakings of self…
    A story that managed to suffocate me, too, bar the breathing spaces between the words and lines? Spoken or read, phone-line to self dead? Call centring…

  4. My previous review from here of the next story is shown below…



    “It might have been a different story had then been an occasional passerby,…”

    …or something more integrated as the past than merely the splattergun of memories you are granted as you get old? The eponymous Agnes is retired, with the help of her busy daughter, to an establishment near the reservoir where she was brought up with her brother Anders. The now often wild environs have much altered, and she has some dreaded memory of losing her brother to the place in the distant past. Methodically narrated, but transcendent with parallel dreaming and mischievous real-time straying from the new establishment, we follow Agnes into a believable scenario of haunting catharsis. An experience we all share by different but equivalent means, one day, I guess. It’s just that, as I grow older, I incrementally sense that even with one very slight alteration, like Agnes’ missing passer-by, life’s eventual gestalt alters far more significantly. Like mine might be altered by chancing upon this story?

    “, secretly hoping to glimpse an approaching figure who might dissuade her from what she was about to do,…”

  5. I now see that I happened to choose the most apposite photo from my sculpture park photos to decorate this review earlier today above.


    “…the untamed darkness residing in her boy had bled out for good.”

    A mother and son in mutual echo of each other, as they repeat history of their behavioural difficulties into the heartwood. Mutually echoing, too, with some of the Carly Holmes book I recently reviewed here.
    “shaunshaunshaun” “pleasant demeanour”, another flute like qeeg, towards final out-come…

  6. 42E0F585-D9D6-4882-A7C1-EA27FB54D726DIARY OF AN ILLNESS

    “…the illness, whatever it was, would remain a permanent fixture in their lives, and that the only thing left to do was adapt.”

    A blend of Royle Dummies and Ligottian diseases and pharmacies, mood of anti-Natalism as a religion, this is a unique classic. Inverse or paradoxical hope. Another CrucialFiction for this book! A treat for Christmas Day, in a very specialist way. Anything I say further will spoil its effect. Needs to be read every Christmas Day. And I have indeed been queuing up at a pharmacy in fear of such a breakdown… “Turning from—and thus further into—his diseased self,…”


    “Things have begun to improve. Or, at least, that is your sense. Having survived the past year speaks volumes to your resilience.”

    Has some resonances with the previous story, the mysterious ongoing construction outside one’s apartment – here by a set of workers from a Mark Samuels type Glyphotech? – the sense of paradoxical hope from a mother’s death earlier in the year and your own rebirth from earth and constructive anti-Natalism? Exploration tethered by TV.

    “Far too daunting to sit there in silence, consuming such a multitude of words.”


    “…if he was going to do the job correctly, in a manner most meaningful, he needed to haul this burden himself.”

    Aligned with the ecclesiastical (or otherwise) constructions of architecture in the previous two stories, this moving story is almost a Christian morality tale, of an old man fighting against bodily disease as well as busying his mind — with ancient property reclamation and a cherished ladder of lineage — into new spirited practical challenge, while in bereaved contact with his dead wife, a coincidence of ‘coalescence’ (a coal- word that someone yesterday used in respect of my reviews: or, as I call it, Gestalt mining of mine and minds or, paradoxically, ‘hawling’ up). The hope, however, is, for this man, not easy to mine. Ghostly darkness inside a church et al. Subsumed by self. A pilgrim’s progress or regress: up or down, if not respectively.


    “I did so, crouching to achieve a properly sinister angle.”

    A haunting letter from Jacqueline to her mother telling of her foolhardy diversion in a direct journey route, when travelling with two other girls, a diversion to a city beyond the eponymous one. The genius loci of the city not only conveys this book’s evolving dummy-syndrome of particular individuals but also the book itself and what it does to the reader.


    “And even though they bore a striking resemblance to books, these were nothing of the kind. They were an invasive species.”

    This story is another whelming haunter for this book! Combining the Dust Child and other themes in this book, as a woman goes back to the place where she was inspired by an uncle into reading books. But now the books themselves have become less ordered and strewn around a presence – a presence that was once her uncle?
    This work, in part, also summoned in my mind, by mere accidental co-resonance, a section of my own story ‘Salustrade’ published in Karl Edward Wagner’s ’Year’s Best Horror Stories’ (1994):
    “The sockets, where his eyes must have rested, pulsed darker than the shadow of his skull. The huddle of books in his aching arms were just another shapeless stranger of black and he wondered which of these books would hold the final suffocating victory over her breath. He strode toward the recumbent figure and carefully placed the books in a makeshift pyramid over her mouth, nose and eyes. She had loved that astronaut Williams and, now, her boss, meticulously patting the damp books into place over her features, involuntarily admired her unutterable loyalty to the deceased spaceman: he sprinkled over the pyramid of books some black blooms which had been crimson in daylight hours but now night-stained with death juice. They fell haphazardly over and through the damp pages. But she stirred slightly at this rustle of petals and her face gradually rose, spilling the books to the floor like lumpy porridge.”
    The whole story is now here: https://etepsed.wordpress.com/636-2/ and was reprinted in my ‘Weirdmonger’ collection (Prime 2003)


    “The yellow book itself appeared unaffected, save that it was covered in a layer of dust.”

    And this landmark collection finally comes together in this vignette of dust and books. Making me believe that all books are the same book. The Gestalt. Dust as haunting fragments of a whole. Dust is often sand coloured like the book. Writerly hopes of a Work imported. The self in others, others in the self. A word’s worth. And the Child is the Book of all us hidden folk as one.


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