17 thoughts on “The Worst Is Yet To Come – S.P. Miskowski

  1. TASHA

    “Cheerful people are so weird,” said Briar.

    I think the once two year old girl whose name begins with B is in this part, having been in the prior one page intro and I sense that I am now tantamount to the small boy and girl as a Gestalt child watching Briar with Tasha (two 14 year olds coping with the surrounding reality of ‘MeToo’ and ‘Trump’ and who together take up an instinctive relationship against the odds and the overbearing oddballs). I am captivated so far by the style of this book and by the two girls’ backstories and their imputed tussles with life as Tasha takes Briar, at the start of their friendship, to a secluded House that she knows…
    But what do I know? I feel I have become an invisible child who probably understands nothing — and certainly does not understand the concept of plot spoilers? Yet I will try to keep you out of things you may not want to know before you read it alongside me.

  2. BRIAR

    “That’s how she could be—cozy and playful, then cold and manic, shrieking about angels and ice cream and ungrateful daughters.”

    I begin to learn who I am, the nature and names of the two children who make up the gestalt observer within each reader. And we in turn learn more about Briar’s background, her mother and her mother’s live-in boy friend. The unchanged strings on his guitars and his other more insidious strumming, too… this book and its soul seem to us to be beyond trash but it has trash in it. A book yearning to transcend the trash that overfills it as those guitars do to Briar’s home, I guess. But then we keep looking back at the book’s overall title…

  3. KIM

    “Then she discovered she could order paper towels, toilet paper, and tampons to be delivered.”

    Kim is Tasha’s mother, Tasha the only child of her mother and father. An insular family. A fascinating depiction of perhaps complex attitudes following the 2016 election near Seattle, where Tasha’s family already had a tendency to self-isolate before Coronavirus was even dreamt of, self-isolating not for the same reasons as some of the America First families in the area , who paradoxically self-isolated by actually binding together with like families in insulation against their vision of dark forces.

  4. (Next three sections)

    “Sure,” said Briar. “Anyway, everything is weird, if you think about it.”

    The two girls Tasha and Briar, although older at 14, yet sewing or synergising together as identical or as one (like the two children observers as reader?), on a two girl slumber party at Tasha’s family home, are now reminding me of the two 11 year old girls in Agata’s Machine, read about half an hour ago here. The pareidolia of witches in trees? As well as in the treadling of sewing machines as synergy?
    And we learn more of the psyche of isolation and sociability in America today. Sewing together or unpicking? And perhaps here in post-Brexit UK, too.

  5. (Next three sections)

    “Tasha laughed. Then she remembered where she was and covered her mouth with her hand.”

    Concerning Tasha and Briar, and their watchers: ourselves disguised as perhaps invisible, perhaps already dead children called Orton and Gretchen, judging Tasha and Briar, judging their motives, their temptations (judgements that readers of a book are often called to make about its characters), and we now even mention Ligotti at one point. Or did someone mention that name to us? Thinking about it, we dare not tell others in this review the details of the plot as it transpires in front of us. These others may become part of us, one day, and it will be their job to catch up, without our prior help. The Me-Too grope and its outcome, notwithstanding. And the question of whether a dug pit in the ground for a newly dead body, a pit that happens already to be found to contain a skull, is a fit place for another such burial? — a question we feel compelled to ask.

  6. KIM

    “: Adolescent girls were insane.”

    Kim, Tasha’s insular mother, speculates on a Rorschach Inkblot: the, for her, worrying friendship of Tasha with Briar, and also gender issues when she, Kim, was growing up…


    The word ‘grounded’ perhaps takes on a new meaning in this book’s context.
    And Dead Lavender as an assonance – with what? or whom?

  7. (next two sections)

    “…hiding from the cruelties of the world, unaware that they shared meals with silent silhouettes and slept in the company of pale monsters.”

    There are some exquisite moments in this book, as we almost hover with what we readers might call the post-imaginary witches above a major turning-point in the plot. Even if the book itself might not call them that.

  8. KIM

    “‘Like bloodstains on a white carpet,’…”

    A revelatory texture of literature depicting Tasha’s parents (Kim and Charles) from studenthood onward, balancing ideals and pragmatics, balancing their differences, and tensions, but above all the nature of parenthood, unique passages on parental responsibility that are also in mutual synergy with much in the literature of the two Tems – separately and together – that I have studied in recent months and years (here and here).

  9. (Next three sections)

    “A boy and girl who appeared to be slightly younger than Briar were striding among the grass and weeds, waving sticks and shouting. At first Briar thought they were talking to one another, but as she continued to watch, she noticed they were waving—and shouting or chanting—in her direction.”

    Burning guitars, buzzing like honeybees. Well, not exactly, but this story keeps fitting itself together in obvious or oblique ways, sometimes both ways at once!
    Briar’s been taken to some institution with a Wikipedia entry for the backstory of its building. But I prefer to rely on the truth of fiction, not on-line sites such as that one!


    “The baby was important, but not more important than Kim and her happiness. When his words made her cry, he apologized.”

    “The thought of parents dragging their children here to keep them away from all the awful influences of city life, it made Mrs. Van Devere want to scream.”

    Parental themes galore (fitting with today’s preoccupations) mixed with Briar’s self-isolation or weird incarceration by blurred figures blending with those hovering above this story as characters or ourselves? Social distancing, but others still managing to tell her their own backstories… and IF she is self-isolating, it is perhaps more like someone or something else self-isolating within HER as their own chosen incarceration! Only the young can pass such an emotional virus and still remain immune to it? The worst is yet to come.

    “Everything was beginning to seem natural to her, as if she were speaking and moving and living for the first time in her own skin.”


    “… an abstract of a scarlet cylinder revolving in space against a gray background.”

    Fostering, child rearing, still unique but Tem-synergistic, plus therapist and social worker considerations. Family traditions, double features. Shape-shifting tattoo on a neck, or was it colour shifting?
    Having a baby a life raison d’être or simply being a bodyguard at least for one year? A bodyguard who tragically failed…
    Considerations of art creativity and “isolation”, and fulfilling one’s art alongside child-rearing. “She never left the apartment.”
    Baristas and vanilla latte, on one foray by Kim as a younger mother outside. A brainstorming of a barista in denial about time and motion efficiency,

    “His desire for a family wasn’t vain or trivial; it was his form of faith, a kind of belief in the world.”

    “She had never seen the batches of seed drifting before late May or June, and she wondered what anomaly in the weather had caused them to spread so abundantly, so early in the year.”

    Climate change as mental condition, even now a human bodily thing…?

    [My old prose poem ‘The Sun Setting’ here as some suggested oblique synergy with what I feel today after hearing world news and reading these two sections.]


    “Tiny graves. Can you hear? Kneel down and listen.” She crouched. “Can you hear them crying out, under the ground? Still trying to escape?”

    As representative of the two children, I realise the significance of…
    “…and they gossiped about anyone who was different or strange.”

    “crushed their windpipes”

    ‘dried out vocal chords’, too.

    This is the Skillute virus I sense. Remember that. Skillute is possibly worth mentioning for the first time in this review. There is always the optimal moment for the solution of all or any problems, whether by control, delay, mitigation or herd immunity.

    “You told her to think of you as both her mom and her invisible friend, combined. What was that all about?”

    Well, what WAS all that about when referring to Kim in her dealings with Briar? And what was Briar’s real Mum Evelyn’s backstory all about?
    Something I sense about twins?

    “Back then she had her own name, her real name. Evelyn was something she made up. Gamel was a lie, too. She was born Julie Dodd, but…”

    And the man Evelyn knew who had a drug deals? And the earlier white shit under a birdhouse now matches the white shit she sucked from him, I guess.

    “She’s always been a little bit crazy,” said Briar. “Always telling stories, you know, making things up. But she was funny, too. Now she’s just—not really there.”

    Everyone needs to die twice at least so as to die properly once, I sense. Are we all twins, most of whom among us have lost their counterparts? What stage are we at today? Between two lethal dives as in Somerset Maugham’s story, Gigolo and Gigolette? I have always been a bit crazy. Not really there? Or here.

  13. (Final seven sections)


    “Adults could do this, lie through their teeth, and get away with it.”

    I feel subsumed by this book as well as by today’s encroaching world around me. It is almost as if I have been Skilluted…

    “Change, movement, different sights flashing by…”
    Fragrances, I somehow want to call lavender.

    Alive alone?
    Yet am I both the ruthless yet methodical artist formulating things one at a time AND the victim of this art? I am the children who want to see me dead beyond herd immunity, waving at me, but, as I insisted right from the start above, I am also those children, too, praying myself back alive by observing what is in this book.


    “If ever he found himself alone, away from his home, he felt as if someone observed his movements, even his thoughts.”

    “They were more imaginative than he was, and the notion of a town having emotions and observations might trigger nightmares.”

    “Beyond the window, the cottonwood was starting to swirl like the first downy flakes of a blizzard about to break.”

    “It occurred to him that this might be the last time he was able to act, to stop whatever was coming, but he didn’t have the strength to stand. He couldn’t even raise his arms.”

    Yet, disarmingly, strangely, this wonderful meaning-curdled book somehow gives me hope via its counterintuitive Skilluting. The worst is EVER yet to come.


  14. Thank you so much for this, Des. I’m honored and humbled, as ever, by your thoughtful, fascinating real-time review. I love it.

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