27 thoughts on “This House of Wounds – Georgina Bruce

  1. “Let’s get you dreeming again, shall we?”

    Yes, here we go, that quote being from the first story below; here I go hawling again, my humble version of dreeming….

    THE LADY OF SITUATIONS

    “I woman. I — can’t follow the thread of myself any more. Can’t narrate.”

    Memories and dreams in a fractured poetic perfection of narration. Indeed, the third paragraph is (as it calls itself in its final one word sentence) perfect, a perfect paragraph. Just read it, deconstruct it, analyse it, play with it, chew it, and you will find it perfect, too. There are other shards within this text that also shine forth — as you read them piecemeal in real-time — in a form greater than the whole. Yet, paradoxically, when you finish the whole, you are convinced its gestalt is greater than its parts. Full of pain, yearning, susceptibility to others’ machinations, body-mind anguish, human weaknesses and strengths, being imposed upon by others, yet equally imposing upon other discrete parts of one’s own self. So much one can’t reach or understand. Even that attic where thinking started? In the house of wounds.

    ===============================

    “There in the attic window of the saddest house she’d ever known, something burned bright red and orange. Just below it, standing on the porch roof in an old-fashioned black dress, her dark veil pulled back to show her terrible pale face, the old woman screamed, and screamed, and screamed.”
    — Steve Rasnic Tem (The Woman in the Attic)

  2. “Throughout Jane Eyre, Jane describes her inner spirit as fiery, her inner landscape as a “ridge of lighted heath” (Chapter 4). Bertha (Mrs Rochester) seems to be the outward manifestation of Jane’s interior fire.” – just quoted from somewhere on the Internet.
    Cf the rabbit woman in the next story?

    RED QUEENING

    A post-Kiernan tour de force as a theme and variations on Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, one that takes the breath away with its streams of conscious and poetic interplay (with TS Eliot at one point). I cannot do justice to this portrait of Aven/Neva, nor can I even be eclectic about its references, nor even dare quote from it; its horror and catharsis, the Scalvages, the psychological and spiritual implications to whomsoever wrote this story and to any reader who decides to read it, the implications of our world’s Gestalt or Mind or Gaia, and much that I find myself relating to as a process still working on me after reading it. You heard about Red Queening here, first? Let me know.

  3. HER BONES THE TREES
    I read and reviewed the next story about six months ago when it first came out, as follows…

    ============================

    HER BLOOD THE APPLES,
    HER BONES THE TREES
    by Georgina Bruce

    “I never seem to know what you’re talking about these days.”

    But does anyone need to do so? I let this new tract of Bruisegina roll over me with frissons of expectation, a sense of meaning and meaninglessness, even with one meaningful typo that may not have been a typo on the first page, a language that sometimes made me think it had a narrative “stutter”, and it seemed appropriate to be a dream within a movie or a movie within a dream or another permutation of that, as David (Lynch?) and Laura (Dern?) (who collaborated on several films, thus giving me an urge to this perhaps crazy insight) seem to be movie-making here in the woods with antlers and bears and royal existences to seek, and with flavours of Red Riding Hood and the Three Bears, Kazuo Ishigiro’s hotel in The Unconsoled, work by Angela Carter and Caitlín R. Kiernan, Farjeon’s Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard, this story’s own “Dreemy People”, and, of course, a Lynch type movie, plus sexual flows of light that the words infer from between the legs…and a basic yearning to transcend the movie where one lives or dreams.

    “Beautiful dead girls. Exquisite misogyny.”

  4. I read and reviewed the next story in 2013, as follows…

    =====================================

    iz246gCat World – Georgina Bruce
    “Maybe she found the women who help,…”

    Sisters again – here two little girls named Oh and Little One. Oh’s name reminded me of Oy in King’s The Dark Tower series, where, when reading and reviewing those mighty books, I often vocalised Oy into ‘I’ – and now following the ‘you’ of a previous sister in this magazine’s fiction aptly blending with the ease of moving through doors of perception, as in the King books, here in ‘Cat World’ to where cats live, containing a gentle, but eventually dark, ‘growing-fantasy’ similar to that in ‘Triolet’, also with the undercurrent of that Sisterhood diaspora which seems subtly to continue here, possibly with Little One as the sentry for what might be a ‘Naughty Girls’ Home’, an establishment managed by two characters named Book and Mr Cow. Haunting material that also has the rain of the de Bodard story – and Little One then worries about growing into grass rather than poems, I guess. Or about ending up with those children in the Tidhar story? But are the greatest horrors Oh and Little One themselves? Depends which way you migrate, forward or back or sideways towards Mother Moon…or downwards like Icarus? Beautifully written and tantalising. Do seek its node or core.

    “We are not little girls, I think. We are something much more terrible.”

  5. I read and reviewed the n still story in 2017, as follows…

    ======================================

    THE BOOK OF DREEMS by Georgina Bruce

    “That inky black lake in the centre of her head, sucking at her memories.”

    …and she eventually and paradoxically uses it to write out this consuming fury of a story, in which uncharacteristically for me I include an author bio at the end of a story as an intrinsic part of that story. Strange how this author’s work often makes me change my critical ways. I actually fear its spate of images or felt nightmares (so many here to spend in this work that still crowdfund my mind and to which I cannot do justice or give free rein) will either escape my grasp or turn on me like one of the previous story’s ‘dogs’ if I do not do justice to its inchoate meening. A dog here, too, and a similar sucking in of memories, this 22 year young woman’s memories and their gaps between and their forced march from dream to dreem, misspelling as a form of nightmare. Her man is 25 years older than her and has concocted a SF future moon travel scenario, a moon that comes back to bite her. I ended furious, too, full of her memories, empathy rampant. I now know what it is like. I already knew, but not to this extent. And the dog gurns. Funny how gurn looks like gum in this misspelt, misspelled world. Gums as part of a mouth. A broken mouth with puppet strings. No pearls there. “…or even with the gum. Dogs like to chew things, she guessed.”

    cf Kiernan’s “mnemonic rape” that i picked up when reviewing ‘The Red Tree’ last night here.

  6. THE SHADOW MEN

    “‘Fine,’ she snapped. ‘Fine.’”

    Everything is fine now? A remarkable, instinctively important work for me, as a man with his own shadow. The incantatory refrain of “a man who hated his shadow” embedded in the dual twining story of Queen Beast with her sister and the man himself called Davey with his archetypal marriage to Ruby, a shuttling rhombus between a ‘Charwoman’s Shadow’ (Dunsany) set against a man’s, a man’s reign, by synergy as well as mutual aversion, replaced by the Queen’s reign, I infer. A shuttling relationship fermented by the autonomous shadows that they cast, then cast off. Cast off as an expended Pilgrim’s Progress in a mind/body passion of cohering and spurning. Amazing prose style, as ever, that will need reading again and again. Davey and his Dad, too. So much to cohere. Aunt Beast and Rameau’s Nephew?

    “Then she did sigh, as a soft petalled rose blisses into flame.”

  7. KUEBIKO

    “…trying to find meaning that isn’t there and I’m only going to open up old wounds.”

    I feel I’m a scarecrow who cannot walk but still retains a personal awareness, but somehow I am led through the installation-door of this spatial story-challenger, perhaps this book’s seminal work, its eponymous house as person-prose, from Brontë (‘wuthered’ used as a verb in this work) to du Maurier. For me, now managing to enter, accompanying Raewyn as narrator, into her once childhood house, remembering her sister Tanith, her mother, and there is also Raewyn’s Pete as her broken marital archetype, amounting to what I called earlier a shuttling rhombus. We can infer what must have gone on in this house from all manner of clues in the text, her mother’s own notebook words, her mother’s explodable television head, becoming the cloth mother of bed and self, and the ‘guest’ (you the reader?) as some watery centre of that rhombus, the pervading of this guest’s body with Raewyn’s body. Infinite repetitions. The old pier again. The cleaning, the blood. “Jif cif flash mr muscle.” “Lacuna. It is as it is in my mind.” …“like a fish hook/ a needle unthreading” and I could go on.

  8. “she twiddles the spiked wheel of a rhombus”
    —Ezra Pound

    DOGS

    “The water runs pink, and slugs of flesh slide down my legs.”

    Once a pound of flesh. Meanwhile, a new quadrilateral, here of husband, wife, narrator and dog. Referred pain by dogmask as a were-role, as aspects of health, career and love-life dysfunction are laid out here like a farrago underpinned by an inferred skeleton of geometry. Doctor Head being the wild card in the otherwise perfect picture of self as body-mind-soul. Mediaeval bloodletting, notwithstanding, even beyond any possible coordinates’ triangulation.

    “Why does everyone keep missing the point?”

  9. I reviewed the next story in Jan 2014, as follows…

    =================================

    Wake Up, Phil by Georgina Bruce
    “‘If only you knew,’ said Throom. ‘If only you knew how many chances you’ve had.'”
    It seems unlikely that the author intended Throom to be a morph of Theramin, but it seems appropriate if she did so, especially in the context of the overall gestalt. The untouchable executive doctor in a corporation, a corporation that vies with another corporation, each seeking the slavish loyalties of its staff. This is on the face of it the clinching satire finale of Stufflebeam’s “I can’t escape my job” opening salvo. It is also a compelling and engaging absurdist narrative that sometimes approximates a painting by Picasso but is mainly a 1950s/1960s SF novel where townships work diligently at their own employments in the face of alien invasion or cerebral counter-clockworlds like Yoachim in reverse, and homely and housewifery things mixed in with the crazy fantasies or with a theramin music backing to various Forbidden Planets to where these wholesome nuclear families travelled to fraternise with robots or replicants or just playmates or puppy dogs,
    There is a character in this last story – a writer called Phil – middle-aged and portly and wearing Hawaiian shirts. I hope this is not a spoiler but, for me, and perhaps for me alone, this is Philip K Dick. But there you go – the light bulb’s finally gone out. Good job I had two.
    “Built-in obsolescence meant that Callihounds would die after seven years.”

  10. 17EA117F-DEA8-4712-8D32-012F422C2203
    CROW VOODOO

    “, and paper, always paper, and like this she comes to the edge of the square where the woman watched all day.”

    Another amazing poetic quadrilateral with (a) a voodooing jobbing handwritten epistler of a crow on the tattered banks of crow road writing letters, for Jenny, to a war’s battlefields, battlefields from where (b) Jenny’s sad bruised or wounded house-husband Robin returns to her, (c) Jenny herself and (d) the daughter Jenny has with the crow.
    ‘The evolution of bruise’, as yesterday’s blurb on the Essex book said.

    • “…a sheet of lost and yellowing stationery, until at last the first glimmer of bird came through.” — Steve Rasnic Tem
      Crow Voodoo is, by remarkable chance, in mutual synergy with today’s Tem that I happened to read and review just half an hour later here.

  11. A63EE604-5E77-4932-9B3D-C6F1AC49D906
    .
    THE QUEEN OF KNIVES

    From the previous story’s pen on paper to this one’s penknife as given to his daughter Eva by the father. Be they nibs or the ineluctable outflux of invisible but lethal edges of a blade-sharp geometry underpinning — as the Queen of Knives Gestalt — this quadrilateral dysfunction of mother, father, Eva and the Other Eva as imposter syndrome… “quiet and continent”, Eva’s snicks are unseen by teacher till the end of the school day.
    0139A829-0E29-4E1C-B19B-8D2368A1EBDB
    “mother tongue […] mother-of-pearl”
    .

    By chance, as I read this story Linda Perhacs’ song ‘Parallelograms’ came on from my programmed recording of last night’s Late Junction on Radio 3. (Check out the playlist on-line if you doubt me!)

  12. THE ART OF FLYING

    “As if to merely speak of him will cause the bruises to bloom…”

    A moving portrait of a woman lorry driver, indeed a map of her faith as well as the lands she drives, a story containing such a map itself as well a dog-headed St Christopher. She is fey, she is fey and flying, in dream if not in reality, dogged by a recurring attenuation by disease. Dogged, too, by an abusive husband just released from prison. I had a sense here, too, of a visionary overseer like Blake, just one remove from Blade?

  13. I reviewed the next story in 2017 when it was published in Imposter Syndrome…

    ==================================

    Little Heart

    “She wanted to break a house in half. Tear it apart in her hands.”

    ‘Wrong mother’ in the ‘picture house’

    “the wrong mother washes up on the beach, and follows the wrong man to the wrong house.”

    “; everyone’s voices streamed in distorted bubbles towards a surface she could not break.)”

    A counterpart to this book’s previous story that might have been the Wrong Story of the Wrong House. However far he or she can trace.
    Once a counterpart, now a cut-up, with phrases and sentences from this story. A cut-up installation, too, of a video of a celluloid black and white cinema film starring the female protagonist’s mother. A film that was so significant to the interpretable hang-ups and breaking of – or breakages by – this protagonist daughter who is also today a teacher of students.
    A cut-up of dream and celluloid implicating the protagonist’s father who called his daughter Little Heart, implicating him as the nightmare forged by such a cut-up. This is a complex, compelling story, and I dare not even attempt to interpret its past as fiction, nor re-tell it, as the story itself does call out the past as a fiction that can be misinterpreted, whether it be rape (explicitly mentioned) or something far more intangible… Dare not implicate myself in the evident strong and personal memories of the protagonist. It is powerful enough a reading experience without my breaking its eggshells to reveal more, something I fear I already have done without knowing. My real-time review that is also a cut-up, a cautious performance in black and white words upon the screen that is the Internet.

  14. I reviewed the next story when it was published in Crimewave…

    ===========================================

    THE ART LOVERS

    “He had always suspected that the world could do this — place sudden magic in his hands.”

    If the previous story was what crime fiction should be, with its dark side of Manchester and missing toes and unrequited love and fragments as discarded souvenirs, then this story has all those, too, “nothing much to appeal to him in Manchester,” and “shoes lay askew on the sand, empty now,” and “he threw out his train ticket, his other souvenirs”; it also has the knife and the hitman that we always expected to cut off someone’s toes perhaps, here those of the young holidaying art student called Paul (amid summer’s European galleries), but, meanwhile, Paul’s unrequited love is not necessarily for the women or migrant whores he overtly desires or fears or resents, nor for the men he entices with his own good looks to buy him a cup of coffee, but now the unrequited love and search for his ideal are also a love and search for the perfection (or gestalt?) of art in the galleries he tours and for the art that emerges from under his own brush or pencil, or from what someone else draws of Paul himself under a different brush or pencil, and for what that art gradually provides as a love to be requited, as an ideal that this story itself provides in effect from under its own pen or keyboard. Trapped in the paper, the story itself says somewhere. A complex, haunting vision from which we can take many messages. Art as an amoral force. Ultimately disturbing, yet it is its own magic in your hands. To be connected to art, there to teach you how to succeed or, more likely, fail while trying to transcend life’s sordid temptations amid morphing desires and misunderstood gender traits, a transcending as a new form of Aesthetics — arguably, I suggest, a dress rehearsal for the complexities of life itself, whereby you might just succeed better than you otherwise would have done without such Aesthetics. For Paul, to ride Snake Goddesses as well as Giorgione Venuses.

  15. 41C2E20E-1ADF-486A-906F-51C82137CC60
    THE SEAS OF THE MOON

    “The cards were evil.”

    Not playing cards so much as Tarot? Cards, wherein Siobhan sees God as a bear (cf Tem’s simultaneous bear in my world, a bear now here in the Bruce as a huge frightening apotheosis), cards that dictate her life, take her onto a ferry away from her boys (always a boy she bears, “another male to square off at the prison door”), along with her granny’s pearls that she later saves from dropping into the sea as if it is a cliffhanger reversed or cheated upon for future viewers of her serial of life. The bear’s teeth razor sharp. Or her own “teeth she remembered well, would never forget.” One of her boys’ bones: “Little skeleton.” Can she escape her former husband? Or do the parts of her life heretofore dog her to the ferry, including the boys she once did bear? Meanwhile, so many objective-correlatives in this story, and I haven’t even yet mentioned its moon. The pain of labour amid the flotsam and jetsam of self. And what does this work’s ‘rhododendron bush’ assonate with?

  16. The next story I reviewed in 2016 when it appeared in Black Static…

    ==============================

    WHITE RABBIT

    “Every object has its animus, its story.”

    Rarely, but I DO sometimes read a special story and think
    think
    like this story’s brilliant elliptic section breaks
    think that I am lucky to have managed to live long enough to read a particular story, THIS story, as something I really really needed to read and learn from, with its deep poignant poetic lesson.
    It is about an old man’s marital bereavement after many years, the premonition by crows, the reaction of daughters, the needle in a barely audible music and its recurrent vinyl scratch.
    A story about inadvertently not being present at the exact point of death of your wife in the house where you’ve both lived for countless years and the house takes over instead.
    Coupled with a mathematical love of routine. Like the author of Alice? Or this author herself?
    Quite horrific, but eventually stoical, eventually beautiful…. A wonderful story, brilliantly adumbrated, with no strident links, but a myriad subtle ones like that almost inaudible music. I’m so glad I caught it.

    ===================================

    That sort of says it all as a review of the book’s gestalt with my then words as its real-time finish.
    But I now wonder what I meant by “a mathematical love of routine.”
    This book is “For the lost, and the lonely.” A phrase that is the book’s printed dedication; it does not strictly have an Oxford comma, but why any comma at all? 9712CC7C-78E6-44C0-B8D4-C1892772C904

    A tin I owned as a boy. It contained dividers.

    end

  17. “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
    Loveliness extreme.
    Extra gaiters.
    Loveliness extreme.
    Sweetest ice-cream.
    Page ages page ages page ages.
    Wiped Wiped wire wire.
    Sweeter than peaches and pears and cream.
    Wiped wire wiped wire.”

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