13 thoughts on “The Secrets of Decay — Preben Major Sørensen

  1. THE GARDENS

    “…the executioner himself, my father-in-law, who was also my step-father,…”

    A shocking absurdist story in several deadpan steps, argument, catharsis, purging, from murder by butchering knife to the gallows via gardens. But we only have the imagination of the narrator to depend on, too strong an imagination and then none of it is real, too weak, then most of it is real. And did he murder his sister or half-sister? And who was the woman who exposed her breasts at the point of his death? And does one’s imagination outlast one’s death, I am now bound to ask.

    This 1983 story has a strangely loose and unintentional parallel journey with the one that, I could argue, takes place in The Big-Headed People. I am certainly interested by having been introduced to this writer of whom I had previously no knowledge. I look forward to taking my own steps through this book, more slowly, that is, than running pell mell harum scarum through a string of gardens chased by an indeterminate number of indeterminate dogs.
    If I don’t, who’d have to?

  2. THE FLIES

    “‘Is this Mr. N.N.?’ I nod.”

    As indeed I am …
    accused here of having started a ‘gigantic fire’ around the world!

    I wonder how I have missed out on this author’s disarming work before now.
    These are translations, I see, from his original language. I raise a glass of Dubonnet to him across the width of words.

    “…in a world that, by definition, has no end and in which the finite and infinite do not regard each other as opposites.”

  3. Pingback: Preben Major Sørensen | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  4. THE NEIGHBOUR

    ‘I’ and ‘Edvin’ = divine?
    A reprehensible fable, however, especially if its m/m/m/moral is misinterpreted. So perhaps best not to risk reading it at all. Too late for m/m/m/me.
    You can remain only as close to its narrator as next door.

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  5. Now Gordon was alone in his palace, accompanied by servants, staff and animals: his journal records mice at dinner, scorpions in his bath and a guinea-fowl “so disagreeable that I had to sway him to and fro until he slept.” — from Internet

    Further reading —
    “Scorpions and allied annulated spiders of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan,” by Professor F Werner

    GORDON OF KHARTOUM

    A tale telling of his death by “fourteen broad-bladed Sudanese spears.”
    And his backward reincarnation by a modern day man who is trying to cope with frail parents and their house that has been beset by scorpions or scolopendra morphing as insects into animals.
    A mad deadpan gratuity of a story that I loved, one that I already have retrocausally included in ‘CERN Zoo’…

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  6. MOVING IN

    “Octopuses or sharks — semantics!”

    …this story being one that fulfils such smugness of mock shock.
    Another of this book’s backward path toward reincarnation by a son of elderly parents, whom he is now helping move house, along with the help of his colleagues from the so-called Insurance Asylum. As if they are hedging against bets of mad indemnity in the insurable interest of dream weirdness, with the Siege of Mafeking and the unrolling of a kilim rug, notwithstanding.
    But, meanwhile, what’s the betting, in these days of touching elbows instead of shaking hands, that we have avoided a whole plague of detached hands?

  7. ANIMAL PHILOSOPHY

    “a book about animals written for animals and by an animal”

    Followsing earlier stories about a son helping his frail old parents, here we have the powerful counterpoint. In an animal world as gestalt, as a jungle’s natural selections, tooth and claw versus paw versus finger, we as animals need to make a stand not only to survive but to supervive… in a world where death faces all us animals even the planet itself though the ‘interstellar’ catastrophe here being more of an interrestrial one.
    A battle of father and son, that rings true, whoever the son or father, one to still be able to jump over the other’s head, the other possibly to outlast death itself simply by a space filled by a pique of temper where love should have been. Meanwhile, the wife or mother loses her head over witnessing such a battle — emotionally, speaking, at least.
    Animals are never rational. That’s why even some of them read books like this one!

  8. THE HIPPODROME

    To make oneself small or scarce, is to withdraw from a social or professional group through embarrassment. To feel small, is a different thing. To look small, quite another.
    This is a fine satire on writers’ conventions, taking a leaf out of the Animal Philosophy book in the previous story.

  9. TRANSPORTING ILLNESS

    Worth the price of this book alone. A genuine masterpiece of the sort of weird literature I relish experiencing, an Unconsoled scenario that will never be consoled, while playfully trafficking, through the carriages of its chain of readers, mental ill-health as others do today’s bodily plague. The narrator is someone who is a master of comparative linguistics, the only language he is not fully proficient in being English! And on this death-and-stink entropic train of dead, dying and living passengers, he hears one woman speak a stream of consonants and vowels that defeats even him, making him align it with strange landscapes, and geographical configurations, and I align it with the gigantic lake the narrator assumes to be outside the travelling train because he can see no signs of habitations in the night. Eventually, he tests fate and destiny by getting off the train at a random stop — but failing in that test by becoming almost the ill-languaged child that he thought was a boy, but as with the child in The Cicerones, turns out to be a girl, or neither boy nor girl. (ha ha.) The hotel he stays at, by the way, is worthy of a scatological and eschatological version of an Ishiguro hotel. Colliding consonants and imploding vowels, notwithstanding. Not to speak of the giant bird flu outside the window.

  10. THE BLACK BATTLE


    “My father, who had been an eagle, had become an owl.”

    Father-Son relationship again — now become this book’s black battle, a recurrent reality or dream dealing with the father on his deathbed and facing him in the corridor in his form as a forbidden beast of prey (or whatever) depending on when you read this story and its ever-shuttling words having come to rest at least for a nonce.

  11. And I was right — the next time I take up this book, the last story has become, with its own version of a shape-shifting alphabet, this…

    DRIRNEKVILT

    “‘It is I, yes, it I!’ the beast howled.”

    Animal and human, father and son, me and you, then vice versa?
    A very powerfully written and, no doubt, translated prose-apocalypse in global cannibalism, towards nonsense and nonsense.

    All of these word-worrying works by Preben Major within a sturdily aesthetic of physical volume, one of over 80 pages with diagonal dashes between prehensile-seeming words, and the large-lettering of black battle artistry in various designs scattered throughout. With information outside the fiction that I have not yet read. A revelation for me.
    My copy is numbered 59/65. The train of illness and decay still pulling towards its terminus, if almost there.

    end

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