16 thoughts on “Walking Horatio – Mark Patrick Lynch

  1. 1.

    “So what’s he called, your dog?”
    “Horatio. You know, like after Napoleon.”

    A most engaging start to this novel. I am genuinely charmed, so far. Horatio who whistles and eats Polo mints is enough to make a lifetime dog-disliker like me like HIM at least! He has three legs (and that is my last spoiler in this review, I hope), and I once worked in real life with a woman who would find a fine place in this book, I am sure, and she sure LOVED her three-legged dog and told me all about him. The different woman actually IN this first chapter, though, obsessed with the worry that Horatio might leave a ‘package’ on her drive, reminds me affectionately of my own forty-something daughter and her Marigold gloves! I am also impressed with the nature of the narrator’s character and his neighbourhood’s genius loci. His being landed, out of the blue, with looking after this strange dog for a while. And the OS marker on the moors. Yet, the fact that the narrator extrapolates about the cause of Horatio’s missing leg without really knowing the facts of the case makes me wonder who is leading whom up the garden path here! And, oh, yes, that woman in yellow gloves seems to collect leaves and twigs.

  2. “Green door, what’s that secret you’re keeping?”
    A big hit when I was 8 in 1956 – has stayed with me ever since. Do read the full lyrics on-line.

    2.

    “You didn’t bring him.”
    “Some people don’t like dogs. You could’ve been one of those people.”

    I shall now call the narrator I from now on as well as continuing to call myself I, and I meet the new neighbour called eric. eric without a capital letter. I thought: E has three legs, but now none, but what is that tail instead? This chapter involves a wonderful incipient character study of both myself and eric. Seriously, so far, this book promises to be a genuine quirky classic of literature. Just in this second chapter, there are some observations of life that will honestly stick with me forever. I won’t adumbrate them here, as I would like you to encounter them as they are first read just as I just read them. I intend to eke out and savour this book chapter by chapter on a daily basis, give or take the odd day I might miss during our difficult times at the moment.

  3. 3.

    “Not a lot of laughs to be had in a graveyard,” I said.

    I dunno. Anyway, a chapter of Fall leaves where aptly above I mentioned leaves, too, in a different context. A description here of my shifting relationship with my girl friend Claudia delights me, particularly on my own secluded bi-partisan Golden Wedding Anniversary today in Lockdown, a delightfully shifting bobble-hat touching relationship, in its own way, I guess. Some more philosophical truths in this chapter that pleasantly touched my brain, too. I am reading this book simply to ensure that it exists in the first place, perhaps!

  4. 4.
    Another very entertaining chapter, about making a pig’s ear out of a Halloween swede and smoking pot with a non-doctor friend called Dr Gee (two lower case Es). Meanwhile, I can state that I HONESTLY had not seen this chapter’s title nor its contents when I earlier wrote this above: “I shall now call the narrator I from now on as well as continuing to call myself I,…”
    Those familiar with my style of reviewing in the past will know that I sometimes project myself into the books I am reading but this is the first time it has now happened for real, as it were! Sort of.

  5. 5.

    “Once upon a time he had a twin brother, named Geoff, with a G. But Geoff disappeared one day.”

    Effed off? Well, whatever, this is the chapter which is probably the funniest and most effective account of a hoarder you will ever read, the chapter about Jeff (with a mouth demonstrating today’s enforced ‘improbable angles of dentistry’!) where I try to sell him my spider-man sticker, accompanied by Horatio who finds the maze of Jeff’s collected belongings so alarming. And, later, it seems appropriate to me, in hindsight, that such a hoard’s even more alarming avalanche domino-rally triggering by inadvertent trip towards crumbling contagion of falling objects down the stairs seems at least to be triggered by mere mention of a stack of Dean Koontz books… see this recent Guardian article HERE about Koontz’s reference to Wuhan-400 in 1981.

  6. 6.

    Having a ride on an ice cream van, playing deafening Greensleeves, in November….
    Wonderful! So stoical, so something.

    Which stirs me to mention that I wrote this earlier today on my website…

    THE SIXEVENIGHTIES
    The decades of stoicism, tawdriness, the first Troubles, the first peccadilloes, the first mock colours of fashion and TV screens, seedy Paradise Lounges, short-lived hopes, familial disloyalties, quiet humour, diminishing churches, receding ghosts (but still haunting us), tentatively to become receding humilities…from dead audiences to quiz show upstarts…
    I continue to read and review HERE each story in the HUGE William Trevor canon…

    This Mark Patrick Lynch book, so far, has now become the finest possible on-going complement to that project, FEELING as if it is (even if it isn’t) happening in that First Dyspraxic Age … an Age before the word Dyspraxia hardly existed (even if this chapter six uses it!)…

  7. 7.

    Another chapter that gradually releases information (here in numbered sections) about my situation, about Horatio and about my sporadically dutiful girl friend Claudia. A series of movements in a Christmas suite, memories and present moments alike, and the culmination of a satisfyingly conceived fruition of Father Chritsmas’s second coming where he had once not come at all! Breaking a barking habit of a lifetime.
    And a passage I must quote in full (please forgive me), quoted for itself IN itself, and because it sweetly resonates with the ‘aslant‘ in my reading and reviewing HERE of The Haunted Sheets earlier this morning, before reading this chapter seven.
    460641E6-671C-4C4D-8932-A6D2C887F007

  8. 8.

    This is the chapter about Idle John’s book collection. Should he sell it or not? I personally wouldn’t exchange this Horatio book for anything. Even if it turns out not to be a complete book like Horatio is not a complete dog, I will keep on feeding it. It’s that sort of book. A sort of necessary symbiosis for each of us. I take it out each day.

  9. BFB151D3-929C-4416-8949-2BBC994DE0C19.

    As I meet characters out and about, some more unlikeable than others, including a postperson called Janet, I am delightfully reminded of the gentle amoral stoical obliquity, a sometimes tawdry Trevor trove of a certain time and place, and now of the Gervais ‘After Life’ that I enjoyed, but the Lynch slopes differently and is even more enjoyable. And I have had a perhaps near replica of eric’s ‘dog’ that he walks about town living in my back garden for yonks. Not that I like dogs or anything like them, I continue to insist. The exception that proves this rule, perhaps, is my seeming to like Horatio as filtered by this book.

  10. 10.

    “‘No,’ I said to Fat Person, having fully thought on the matter. ‘I think I’m awake.’”

    Not sure about ME! This is really the first chapter where I feel part of some collusive, collucid, co-vivid dreaming as reported across the land in recent weeks. A story of a mysterious bone appearing every night at the end of my bed without obvious means of it getting there. And Horatio wearing sun-glasses, that was the clincher. I’ve heard of sleepwalking, but sleep-reading? Even printed books changing their contents overnight? This book, by whatever means, sure has the knack of making me think.

  11. We have two dogs and I think of them as superpeople. I feel happier just looking at them. They have strange, half-complicated personalities. I think half-complicated is a bit happier than the alternatives.

  12. 11.

    This is the delightful chapter that contains a striking character study of everybody’s crush or wished-for squeeze called Diana Meow, here returned to us all as a community police officer. At least ‘a ghost of a purr’ fallen from the communal lips. Old scratches, too. Also it is the chapter that has the concept of ‘Daft driving’!

    “She’d kept her distance all the time we had been speaking…”

  13. 12.

    “‘Maybe we should build a raft’, I said.”

    My wife and I are in lockdown during a never-ending heatwave, and here in this book, by contrast, I am in similar lockdown by dint of continuous freak rain. Strange that I read about Rapunzel this morning in another dark nest (HERE) and rain and hair suddenly seemed in mutual synergy with each other. The Lady of Shalott, too. It seems highly appropriate, in an oblique way, that one of this chapter’s ducks turned into a swan!

  14. Pingback: Synchronicity rampant… | THE DES LEWIS GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS

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