4 Nightjars

TRICK OF THE LIGHT by Andrew Humphrey
REGRET by Robert Stone
THE WASH by Daniel Gothard
HIDE by Roberta Dewa

Nightjar Press 2020

My previous reviews of this publisher: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/nightjar-press/

When I read these publications, Covfefe Disinfectant permitting, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

11 thoughts on “4 Nightjars

  1. “Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition of humanity, and yet, as if nature had not sown evils enough in life, we are continually adding grief to grief, and aggravating the common calamity by our cruel treatment of one another.”

    And of other creatures, too?

    THE WASH by Daniel Gothard

    68DA58C6-C3A7-46BB-8484-882D42391695 12 pages

    “He had ignored the onset and speedy escalation of an Addisonian crisis, perhaps lying to himself it was a nasty viral infection.”

    Let loose by the freehold author, like God with His plagues, I sense, the leasehold narrator, with his own sense of constructive cruelty, refers in that infectious quote to his now dead elder brother, Marius, who, together, years ago, when they were 11 and 13, spent some time with their grandparents in Skegness without their own ill-matched parents. We gradually gather that coming out in the text’s “wash”, if not in nearby King John’s capitalised Wash, was the concept of their fateful collection gathered from corpses (some become corpses ab initio by instigation of Marius)… words as living things batted like balls on a beach to see if they can have their edges crimped. A fable for our times, still evolving, playing it by each ear…

    “Take Marius.”

  2. 330550D2-77D4-4D15-82B7-F9BDD43F3B18
    Oh! Incredibly, in view of the referee’s whistle, my above photo came up earlier today on Facebook memories from exactly four years ago! I have now ‘distorted’ it as Gayle does to her own photos that she sells and puts in exhibitions …

    5CCC4857-DEB4-4A52-B1BC-A9B6A2FCE5D220 pages

    TRICK OF THE LIGHT by Andrew Humphrey

    “Easy walk. There’s a pub, a church. What more does one need?”

    Gayle and her narrator husband are staying in a lonely cottage near Southwold, Suffolk, mainly for Gayle to gather more material for a photo exhibition. They have a chequered marital backstory, or at least he does. And he loves M.R. James stories. Well, who doesn’t? And this itself is indeed well-characterised amid an engagingly atmospheric landscape, with knots of pigs and caramel cliffs in its genius loci, as well as that pub and church. With a unique flavour along with — as well as beyond — James as frissons of melting identity. A summoning beyond weak whisky’s colour.
    I, too, much prefer Michael Hordern to John Hurt.

    “Back in the living room I drank wine and read whilst the darkness gathered outside.”

    “I like drinking red wine until the edges of the world blur…”

    My previous reviews of Andrew Humphrey: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/andrew-humphrey/ and https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/the-alsiso-project/
    He wrote something called ALSISO as well as ALISON. Nothing about Addison, though!

  3. B9704BE0-0275-494D-AA49-9289D57A2B4F 12 pages

    HIDE by Roberta Dewa

    “piece by piece I go”

    …as ever in real-time, by the strict rule that my reviews are those based on my first reading of any work. But I can already see this work probably needs several readings, free verse with bird names and engaging evocations, free verse as prose, with arguably complex backstories of childhood and beyond as we follow the author as she conjures a narrative point of view of ‘she’ in interface with ‘you’ and ‘he’, in visits to a bird hide and reading the sightings board in that hide where another has left impressions of birds or other poetic emotions of ‘I’ and another ‘you’ added within this gestalt, plus a school’s salacious bike shed and today a bike, and a memory of a house, a possible marriage and a new relationship or not. All overlapping or potentially dove-tailed. Notwithstanding the ”nemo hiding here”. That made oblique sense of it all for me. Worth pursuing.

    “, geese out early honk across the thin wash sky”

  4. “Anticipation! It occurred to him that his anticipation was more pleasant to him than the experiencing.”
    ― Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley

    Anticipation as a pre-cursor or do I mean pre-curser for…
    by Robert Stone

    DE6AD8DB-FBA4-49D6-A6A8-C87E7BB6C2BC 20 pages

    “There had been that terrible cough.”

    The Higher Smiths as a variation upon Keeping Up With the Joneses, as we used to say in Middle-Class England when I was much younger, with, inter alia, lawn-edgers and sprinklers. And this is the story of Paul whose wife Fay died of that cough, naturally, surprisingly out of character vis à vis her bodily health. He is now living opposite Tom and coincidentally he is reading of another Tom in a Highsmith book, and Tom’s tantalising white-swimsuited wife Hannah happens to be reading a book by the same author. But, of course, there are no such things as coincidences in MY reviews, and please don’t dare tell me otherwise, but there ARE always cross-references towards an accretive gestalt, one which here is a dangerous experimentation with aligned opposites, scryable or scythable wives (even if one of them is dead), burst bladders and hoses, exploded cookers and arguably clitoral fuse-boxes. Draining a boil is said to be like the pleasure of clearing drains (the boil bit being remarkably apposite for me today! – don’t ask!) And one lacy white bra left as a prop, perhaps even more powerful, if softer, than all the other weapons. Was Paul violent because he wanted to be one of Highsmith’s stereotypes as denigrated by Tom or he wanted to straddle the road, straddle being big on both ‘details’ and ‘big pictures’? The timing of a piss as a sort of curse. Defiant in sharpening one’s critical edge with lethal exponentiality. Books leak into each other, too. I have now done with edging. However you might interpret my review into favourable or unfavourable; it could, I admit, have been more acute and I anticipate understanding this story better upon a second experience of it. Whatever else, it made me enjoy saying things about it. And that’s half the interactive battle. An official passport for better understanding, pending further inspection.

    “Now everything had stopped.”

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