11 thoughts on “famished – anna vaught

  1. cave venus et stellas

    An evermore pharmacopoeia of thematic ingredients shelved as meanings above and below the lines — a Deadpan Book of Horrors ‘conte cruel’ factored into the rich prose about a captivating willowy woman (sip sip) and the carpenter she employs from off the different, indifferently cold street outside. But who has the more adept manipulation of their materials? Just watch the diminuendo of spaces that you read between. A siphonage of stars: As Above, So Below.

  2. feasting; fasting

    “But different, different!”

    Each book I choose to read, choose via some unknown knack, a pattern, a jigsaw to scry, and this one promises well. The second storylet has a highly rich oblique rapture of words and captivating chamber music, justice to which cannot be done in any short review of it, but I so sense that I have now discovered an author bespoke for my literary tastes, and wondering whether the gardens at the back of this story are better ‘maintained’ than those at its front. A story as the house itself, and I also sense an eventual joy in containment here, not a neurosis, the gestalt of souls of those who once maintained a life there whatever the duress from outsiders, including the duress upon the new wife of the cocky man who buys the house from two seeming sisters of the elegant willowy lady in the first story above, the same but different, the man who plans to co-opt the nearby village as his own droit du seigneur. But this story of a house’s spiritual lockdown forcefield happily co-opts him first, I hope. If “a jigsaw never done…”

  3. what he choked on

    “Frightened to sleep for fear of falling into a death crevasse, all littered with Manchego and nasty odiferous hauntings, which opened beneath his feet with each falling-to-sleep jump.”

    A Jungian co-vivid nightmare of childhood’s arty chokes including Liar’s Dictionary words such as “turophile” and “affineur”, plus a variegated glossary of culinary semantics reeking with offal and other more piquant tastes …a boy’s grandmother who tried to kill him with kindness, poisoned him and eventually the man he shrunk into with the co-dared adventures of Thai tapas mixed with the schoolyard cruelties that seemed concomitant with this work’s food-scarred wordplay. The tangible text creates ingredients in the boy’s recipe of fate, as well as in a more universal self-perpetuating compost of fate: a still protracting archetype of vividness in experimentally destructive dreaming by fellow dare-devil readers encouraged by disbelief in any review of what they might not yet otherwise have read ….

  4. seaside rock and other homicides

    “When we meet love that sees us as what we are, we blossom.”

    An eventual irony that, and an irony, too, I just read today’s poetically wrought prose gem in a similar seaside resort, a story about seaside rock that has text through it. Well, I have lived in this resort for over 25 years and was born on this coast just over 72 years ago, and this still could be my Midsommar, I guess, judging by today’s September heatwave. This is a story of a Welsh woman who keeps a rock shop (also selling floss, fudge and knick-knacks) and she is potentially rescued from dullness by whoever or whatever is here described as an English erotic. (My English mother married a Welsh man and gave birth to me.) I tend to pick at fiction texts and see what runs through them, teasing a text from within a text, as it were, like erotics tend to tease at other things, but I still find myself wondering about the woman’s big-toed sister who works in the shop. And the story’s title. And the fudge.

  5. a tale of tripe

    “, but Catherine found that her thoughts were leaping from vivid hue to hue –“

    The matriarchal offal in an earlier Vaught story above now made into an apotheosis of tripe, and you will never forget this gorily synaesthetic description of it! By means of conveying the narrator’s co-vivid dream, and I think this one equals the very recent archetypal such dream in ‘Cast Lots’ here as an example of co-vividness that we all experience today. This theme blends into further dreaming of the narrator’s favourite culinary writer who I take to be Elizabeth David. And it suddenly strikes me that Vaught shares kinship with culinary as well as non-culinary Katherine Mansfield, too, whose complete story canon I recently reviewed in detail here. Taking Mansfield into the horror genre/ rich poetic prose balance that I mentioned about the first story above.
    I remain fully entranced by this book, so far.

  6. nanny lovett and pop todd

    “I’ve been spending days basking in saporous memories.”

    A few days ago here in a concurrent review I mentioned the ‘sapience of sapor’! Meanwhile, this is wonderful worded stuff about gestalt complicity and this engaging narrator’s flawed Grandparents, but Grandparents who transcended their own flaws by running a pie shop with pies containing things like Trump and others of his ilk (that’s my interpretation, anyway!) and we all ate their pies because they made such delicious pies.

  7. 6C13B54F-F3F0-4830-AB3E-0A2A0096CAEFLampreys (sometimes inaccurately called lamprey eels) are an ancient extant lineage of jawless fish of the order Petromyzontiformes, placed in the superclass Cyclostomata. The adult lamprey may be characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. — from Google

    henry and his surfeit of lampreys

    “Men strive ’gainst rules, and seek forbidden things.” — quoted in Historia Anglorum, Henry of Huntingdon, 1129 and 1135.

    Like eating lampreys, then lampreys eating us from inside! A sister story to those other stories here about offal. Awful, a story that eats away at you as you read it. No joke. Educational, though, especially with the side-research I did after reading it. And we humans do tend to have an instinct about striving against rules, but today’s face masks DO at least help stop lampreys getting in. Or should I say, escaping!
    Symbioses or synergies or hosts and parasites, there seem to be many unspoken mysteries that this book disarmingly covers under the guise of high literature.

  8. hot cross buns, sharp teeth and a tongue

    “Although I did go to Asda to get some hot cross buns and, well, I was so disappointed by how doughy and soft they were, not like—”

    A delightful treatment of hot cross buns and their modern downgraded ubiquity and a youngster’s idealistic vision of supplying old people like me with old-fashioned buns with traditional quality at a gathering at her house – the ending of the story being hilarious and it started me thinking about the benefits of ‘drinking and whoring’ against those of self-isolation.
    Or going to the socially distanced dentist.

  9. shame

    “…there was that sneeze-powder, pretend parmesan, and there was the real thing, properly aged.”

    Can there ever be such a fabulous descriptive story – with a moral – of being downright common in eating low-grade foodstuffs (here beautifully listed) or with habits of picking off crusty tastibles from cooking dishes etc etc? NO!
    There is no shame in shame. Love transcends everything. Even low-level love is love….but can you ever transcend the false clues or decoy trails of snorting on sneeze-powder, I wondered, off piste?

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