Infra Noir 2020

D8F7484E-BA99-4A2A-ABE3-3F6DD6F33903

ZAGAVA MMXXI

My previous reviews of this publisher: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/zagava/

Stories by D.P. Watt, Mark Valentine, Jonathan Wood, Karim Ghahwagi, Mark Samuels, Rebecca Lloyd, Timothy J. Jarvis, Reggie Oliver, R.B. Russell, Rosalie Parker.

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

20 thoughts on “Infra Noir 2020

  1. CRAFT by D.P. Watt

    “The only books he read were books about the making of books.”

    Yes, books about the making of books, not about the writing or reading of them, although at least this single sentence quoted above — about reading books as well as making them — was obviously once written and has now been read. A sentence as part of a matchless literary apotheosis written about all three processes mentioned above, processes that end with a sheer osmosis of themselves translated into the most colourfully numinous experience possible by the magic of what I infer to be agonising methods of tactile and cerebral stigmata upon something by itself.
    A classic.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/d-p-watt/

  2. Pingback: CRAFT – D.P. Watt | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  3. THE CLERKS OF THE INVISIBLE by Mark Valentine

    This seems to be a reprint of a section from within sixty pages of artwork and words called SMOKE by this author as published in the original INFRA NOIR — edited by d.t. ghetu and published in 2014 by Ex Occidente / Mount Abraxas and Zagava.
    Below is my original review of this section at that time (HERE):

    [[ This book has two silken bookmarks, one deep violet, the other black, and that tells you a lot about its non-linear nature although I personally am reading it linearly. This Valentine section continues, with bibliographic lives, machinations of booksellers and agents, together with a word-repetitive black sash ash jerkin cymbals word-Huelsenbeck rhythm driving into the brain…
    As I experience this, I happen to be listening to the CD that is embedded in the front cover of another book here and it seems to fit, with its deep bass tinnital rhythms…
    “…he also has conversations with street lamps and so on, and writes down what they say. However, the language of street lamps is hard to decipher.” ]]

  4. I read the next story by KARIM GHAHWAGI in his new collection here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/07/06/the-inhuman-ladder-karim-ghahwagi/#comment-22372 , only a few minutes ago, as follows!

    =========================================

    1821

    “Its consonants crackled like burning kindle, its vowels were wispy and strange.”

    This is the richest text that has literally captured the nature of candles as manufactured things and their flames and their plumes of smoke when snuffed. You may quibble at the word ‘literally’ above, but I stand by it. It also captures religious, spiritual and fairy-story telling aspects with the events relating to Lucia and Izabel. And the resultant Guilds of Light and Shadow, as a synergy or battle between? It is both, with sharp oscillations of mood as well as the wonderful concept of ‘ditherings’, as expressed by an almost overbearing experience reading this work’s’ exponential hedonism of semantics / syntax / phonetics. The ‘taxing’ and training of wicks as ‘Eternal Story’.

  5. POSTERITY by Mark Samuels

    “— ‘dark’, ‘strange’, ‘dust’, ‘weird’, ‘dead’, ‘night’, ‘ghost’, ‘shadow’, ‘horror’, ‘fear’ and ‘terror’.”

    The settling dust of a writer’s legacy. A story of a woman airbrushing an author’s intentions to help maintain her critique upon him. A booksellers’ rest home in the no man’s land between city and countryside within sound of the M25 and high speed trains, a place where the writer lived till his degrading death, whereby she attacks the primary sources while herself being harassed by a TV detector van and the home’s warden switching her clothes and wizened child-like beasts lurking outside. And empirically, as I always do, I seek meaning and value from texts, and, other than it being mostly well-written, I am afraid I can find nothing else in this work, just as I can’t find anything in this my own review of it. So perhaps try harder…….
    None of us are entitled to a legacy or posterity it seems, whatever we as writers try to do and mainly fail at.
    I don’t know which is the more reactionary — being reactionary itself or being avant-garde/ transgressive?
    And are intentions always faithful to the intentions themselves that one thinks one intends or to one’s misdirection of other people regarding the way they interpret such intentions?
    Posterity or posterior? (The former stretches into the future, the latter behind?)
    Vomit from the mouth or blood?
    Meanwhile, as with Aickman’s constructively meaningless work, I do find this Samuels work has a tantalising meaning and value that last just as long as Zeno’s Paradox does during the woman’s struggling journey through this story’s storm.
    I shall now erase my pencilled marginalia to this story upon which this review is based.
    PS: Bulwer-Lytton happens to be mentioned in this story. And I hope my recent review of his famous story that Aickman chose for the Fontana Ghost series may be relevant in the context of the above: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/05/19/the-haunters-and-the-haunted/

    My previous so-called reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/mark-samuels/

  6. Pingback: Posterity or Posterior | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  7. ANCESTOR WATER by Rebecca Lloyd

    “…and I remember water flying from the mug in a beautiful arc landing in a pattern…”

    …like the smoke’s dithering plume in the Ghahwagi, and like an intrinsic moving part of the moving gestalt of this most moving story, a story of a needs-coarsened, financially and perhaps sexually exploited foreign young woman called Lien precariously in England, and her still natively naive mother (native in the sense of native as in natal birth) now flown across, to England, across the skies where her ancestors are nearest, who later starts creating shrines to these ancestors at the top of the building where she lives with Lien, for me like child-like ‘Blue Peter’ models of discarded domestic stuff and Lien’s saved coins, and the man who lives in the apartment up there, a man with snaky tattoos. But every story has its literal lien of magic, I guess, and the settled pattern of all such liens is interpretable in each reader’s bespoke way, I sense. Cockroach poison with the cleaning fluids where Lien works, and the snaky man perhaps casting off his own fears or prejudices about her mother being the first of many ‘cockroaches’ to cram into the flat below…part of the pattern eventually creating a story to cherish.
    I, myself, often go out to buy “forgotten milk.”

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/rebecca-lloyd/

  8. STAINED MEDIUM by Mark Valentine

    “…a black cover strewn with white stars.”

    A nifty tale about booklovers and Gnostics and other mystics and the original version of the Seven Pillars, taking place in the town of Reading, whose name eventually for me comes to mean more than just the words embedded in its streets and railway station.
    Another scrying, reading-between-the-lines tale for divining lovers of this author’s literary sect.

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/john-howard-mark-valentine/

  9. THE PURBLIND BARDS by Timothy J. Jarvis

    “It was telling me not to think too hard about the routes the statues took, the patterns the lights inscribed. That they were significant, but that I’d never know what they meant.”

    Valentine’s scrying and readings of our land in the previous story have morphed and now make me become swaddled, even subsumed by them in a foulness that I could never myself describe even adequately but this story managed somehow to go into a gear of utter foulness and flayed pain and pointless endeavour and the state of the nation — a gear that I have never been able to go into before by the means of any literature! This tale, as you follow the bards and the oracles, takes you to that extremest edge and then over it. No exaggeration. Carved jerky, or not.
    (Needs to be read aloud, with full articulation and expression, to a listener whose mouth gapes open wide and wider as you read it to them.)

    My previous reviews of this https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/timothy-j-jarvis/

  10. I read the next story a few days ago here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/06/30/a-maze-for-the-minotaur-reggie-oliver/, as follows….

    ========================================

    THE WET WOMAN by Reggie Oliver

    “I was conscious of a certain theatricality about his actions which I resented. Professional actors prefer such devices to be confined to their proper domain: the stage.”

    And great ghost story writers and great strange story writers, and great horror writers such as Reggie should also keep to their strengths, while this farcical staged satire about an actor who had been through the mill personally visiting a posh detox clinic with rooms named after famous mystics in a place worthy of the sort of country house that populates many Reggie stories, with machinations of retribution and mock joke Halloween hauntings becoming lethal or at least Rabelaisian, isn’t there a W.W. Jacobs story on that theme? Well, the standard of the satire is typified by calling a music group ‘Rectal Thermometer’! Well-written, otherwise, but that is superfluous praise for a Reggie story. (I might have missed something, as I found myself leapfrogging across paragraphs in case I got sucked away by the wet woman. Sorry.)

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/reggie-oliver/

  11. Pingback: Carved Jerky | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  12. A HOUSE OF TREASURES by R.B. Russell

    “‘What I remember most was my grandfather saying he was shown a cabinet of curiosities.’
    ‘A Kunstkabinett?’”

    Couldn’t be a greater contrast to the Purblind Bards, but two stories strangely complementing each other. This one a relatively short, highly poignant, ostensibly simple story of a man finally discovering the house, once called Noah House, ironically turning out close to where he’d always lived with his father, a house which his grandfather had once visited and reported as a house of treasures. There is more to this story than just the presumed confusion of the one eventually visited who happens to still live there….a more than literal arc of memories, the boy leading the man. Pair by pair?

    “When have mapmakers ever been right?”

    My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/r-b-russell-tartarus-press/

  13. HOME COMFORTS by Rosalie Parker

    This story of rain, shopping in town, today’s endemic face masks the need for which due soon to be lifted and the freshening of a woman ‘s mid-life life without such masks, face upturned to the rain, but which woman is which who has need the most for our cuddly stuffing and stiff be-gins and tonic?
    The most disarming nonsense that I have ever read, perfectly pitched, as a fine coda to this book of variegated fictions that defy second-guessing, let alone gestalting!

    My previous reviews of this author: HERE and HERE

    end

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