18 thoughts on “Sermons in a House of Grief – Benjamin Tweddell

  1. Around 60:pages, with the customary high quality Abraxas accoutrements of book creation; customary, yes, but never to be taken for granted. And the pages seem smoother than erstwhile, for good or ill, for better or worse. I keep my powder dry.
    Mine numbered 4/113

  2. 38AC55BC-1EF6-413E-B24B-7D25944E0EDDPages 9 – 11

    Adumbration of boisterous student group arriving late, amid week-old snow, at a Helsinki lecture where Professor Eskola is sparring with disbelievers of his belief in Biblical disbelief. Or thus I scry thus far.

  3. C3343ACA-40CE-4F1D-8E4C-FBA2BC784002

    Pages 11 – 18

    “There, they have never forgotten the two witnesses.”

    I prepared, for another reason, the above single double-image of the Parhelion, prepared it about an hour before reading these pages. I had no idea it would be perfect for this review entry of two men, Leo (Eskola) and Matias, later in a bar, old friends as it turns out, looking back to 1933 and the war that followed, the trains seen emptying eastwards, and the value or not of the prophecies they then made and the dichotomy today of their beliefs, the truth of the Bible or the truth of Reason… and the power of a woman they both knew called Alma. But what of “the voice of the Seventh Angel”…?

  4. Pages 18 – 22

    “, my two brightest stars blaze in the zenith, and at last shall be revealed the deep and secret things.”

    We learn, by dint of backstory filtered piecemeal through retrieved souvenirs much of the relationship of Leo and Matias, from childhood, child preachers? First with Tilda, then Alma. A sect raided by police? I shall not reveal too much, I hope, as I proceed through this involving book. And Helsinki’s old snow is about to be restocked, I guess.

  5. Pages 22 – 29

    “There were things in their shared history which he could not explain, events he hardly dared acknowledge. Fragmentary images uncoiled, a terra incognita which his rational mind could never illuminate.”

    This remains enthralling, between Leo’s memory and today’s vistas holy or otherwise, vistas that can only be given justice by reading them here. A visionary glimpse, I guess, of metaphorical sayings like not throwing the spiritual baby out with the rational bath water — or seeing woods for trees, or vice versa. A tension between his lost beliefs and past ceremonies represented by meeting Matias again, or old journal documents fighting today’s retrocausation by a Proustian self, thinking of Alma again. A potential blood-brother or -sister text with Powys’ Glastonbury Romance (from which I fulsomely quoted here in 2012 when re-reading it: https://weirdtongue.wordpress.com/quotations-from-the-glastonbury-romance-by-john-cowper-powys/, having first read it in 1973, in my earlier perhaps Leo-equivalent soul of that time.) Leo Eksola, a common Finnish surname, here Exsouler?

  6. Pages 30 – 34

    “There is a country in the space between the words.”

    A Terra Incognita, Novis Terram? We follow Leo leaving Helsinki, away from the uncertainty of academic work following his ‘dissent’, and arriving at the countryside home where he first saw Alma preaching, he among other children, including Matias. All beautifully described, to the accompaniment, in my reading room, of Sibelius. I often wonder about the latter’s own space between the words, his seemingly endless ‘Silence of Järvenpää’, and my own creative ellipsis, during the last 11 years of gestalt real-time reviewing….

  7. F6812A90-C50A-4AB5-8C48-1AABD4985D55 Pages 34 – 39

    “Tilda alone had stood beyond Alma’s authority. She was the only one who never lowered her eyes in her presence, never uttered Alma’s name with the usual hushes respect. Yet…Tilda had loved her, he was sure.”

    An involving narrative of Leo’s return to Tilda’s old home. But he finds it has a trapdoor that he can’t recall being there when he was a child….

  8. Pages 39 – 42


    Sculpture by Dimitrie Paciurea. Cf the sound reported by Leo to the police as coming from the cellar under the trapdoor. Image above evoked by my co-reading earlier this morning of this publisher’s MYSTERIUM.

  9. Pages 42 – 45

    “The world sickens and fails — its own corruption bearing ample witness to its final days.”

    Alongside Leo, we learn more of the backstory of the child preachers, their environs and circumstances, redemption by shrift, the two witnesses…in interface with our world today. Significant stuff, textured and thoughtful. Angels leaning in to hear our thoughts or drink our tears? Probably both.

  10. Pages 45 – 48

    “I’ve heard it said that the more a man strives for the light, the deeper his roots twist into the dark, and I doubt it not.”

    Leo Eksola, today a famous academic, returns with Proustian force to the old church where he was led astray as a child or had been himself a stray brought home to unswaying truth? If a dark truth. Finding gravestones and dates of birth-to-death, their denizens truly begin to live again, I find. If only by sharing our minds with their cross-infected memories of what life was like when they truly lived and had influence upon us?

  11. B402F0EB-58CD-42F7-AD38-549C7BDBBFC9 Page 48 to the end

    “…Tuonela, the realm of the dead. […] He recollected sitting in this very room, mastering the ‘Book of Daniel’,…”

    Below I show my Facebook Tuonela post on the very day Nov 9, 2016, when the current POTUS was elected (also see here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/09/tuonela/)
    Whether that has some bearing on the denouement of this darkly beautiful book of spiritual battle, as Leo finds Matias in the house they knew so well as children, and he passes beyond any realms of those dates of birth-to-death of Alma and Tilda, alongside the stifling of authority in the shape of a police officer, I will leave you to decide. Sermons versus fake news.
    Just play with the words Melania and Alma.

  12. In this my final review of 2019, I reprise the quote I made above yesterday:
    “I’ve heard it said that the more a man strives for the light, the deeper his roots twist into the dark, and I doubt it not.”

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