Raphus Press MMXXI
Stories by Rhys Hughes, Jason Rolfe, Jonathan Wood, Fábio Waki, Colin Insole, Forrest Aguirre, Brian Evenson, Adam Cantwell, Thassio Rodriguez Capranera, Louis Bonafoux.
My previous reviews of Raphus Press HERE.
My reviews of above will appear in the comment stream below…
A luxuriously stitched oblong of a book with over 100 pages, and my copy is numbered 11/50.
By chance, this very morning, I had a wonderful overture and way station to this book from Rasnic Tem by means of his story ‘Way Station’ here, a work that somehow teems with ghost trains!
SADIE LORELEI’S CHATTER by Rhys Hughes (and the Reader)
An outrageously genius conceit of Rev W. Awdry as the Great God Chuff creating the Fat Controller in the reader’s guise!
Along with D.H. Lawrence!
Utterly poignant with puns and poetry as well as prose; two train engines are restricted by their own pairs of infinite parallel tracks but they manage to chatter sooty if not dirty talk together by means of the reader’s meta-changing of points by dropping a conveniently accidental obstruction upon the lines of print and so the two trains are able to get together by literally having it off their own tracks. At least in the eyes of the reader’s control over what happened! Trains In Love.
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/494-2/
TERMINUS by Jason Rolfe
…and here the “contrôleur” returns with the train of this engagingly spooky story as a sort of First Mover with fateful parallels between now and 1979, as two Canadian students travelling from Rome to Nice are held up on the Italian side of the border at a station closed down over night, or so it seemed… with the haunting image of an idling, even prowling, white Fiat Panda outside the station. And an old man is also moved into position to give some security to the two students, an old man like me, but there are no promises and to tell you more would spoil everything. One Mover being versus another Mover is enough for now.
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/jason-e-rolfe/
THE DIRECTION OF TRAVEL INTO THE HOLY LIGHT by Jonathan Wood
“Text after text after text after text…”
This has the huge rich paragraphs of text by a New Proust, a meditation on train travel and their ghosts, holy and otherwise, as well as Bowenesque shoals of the dead, I infer, passing through the beeping doors that might otherwise cut them in half. And half again into Null Immortalis? The narrator here as another version of Contrôleur.
It is difficult to do justice to this intense work — as ‘a language of track’ through the double-take ‘seam of memory’ — by otherwise describing it or itemising its ingredients, so I will now leave you to read this classic Jonathan Wood for yourself, indeed this classic, full stop.
My previous reviews of this author: here & here
THE QUIETS OF THE EARTH by Fábio Waki
“With time, I came to realise that Ana’s state of sanity was not really the opposite of a state of insanity, but a state of focused attention that helped her keep a grasp of the world by precisely allowing her to escape the burden of her own reality.”
…as exactly this highly satisfying Anastory did for me, controlling the reader by the projected tracks of a journey (projected by Ana as if to create a naive audience that saw early films as threatening them with collision), a journey towards ‘Vigil Fever’, a concept you will not forget once you see it embodied within this text, a text for which she created a male narrator as a director, peppered with the ‘fucks’ of a past existence with her, enduring her petulance and destructivity as if to rescue her in the shape of a maiden (not a hard-bitten woman of 60) figuratively tying herself to the tracks in the gaze of a forthcoming collision, rescued by narrative collusion of readers, creating a metaphor for and from all the horrors of Middle Europe in Mid-20th century. None of us can be killed by a metaphor, unless you were part of it. And of course we all were, if humanity is a gestalt. So, you need to keep awake forever to stop slipping back into it. No co-vivid dreams for you, let alone Vigil ‘flu.
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/fabio-waki/
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, … When he himself might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin?
Ana- 1. “upward, up in place or time,” 2. “back, backward, against,” 3. “again, anew,” from Greek ana (prep.)
This Waki work is also mentioned in my Evenson review below…
THE FIRE RIDERS by Colin Insole
Insole enthusiasts will be pleased to know that his writing-fires burn most inspiringly here in this deployment of more than what I feel is a legend of the Low Countries, where Fire Worshippers and Fire Prestidigitators that were settled there by means of earlier diaspora, through history and particularly, here, during the Nazi era, with a sort of would be Joan of Arc by the name of Magda mustering the trains from the Six Beacon Line stations, stations with names conjured for our beguiling in English by text-and-truth, one station’s sidings and tracks by the name of Ash Forest any historians will obviously know already by dint of history itself, and the conveyance or conjuring of fire as animal or bird spirits and the sound of trains — and the zig zag emotions of a would-be-turncoat and clock-obsessed German Officer, a character that takes much reading power to encompass but encompass him you surely will. Embodied within such configurations are the spirits of the dead as well as the living. The readers themselves (if I am to judge from myself), delight, too, in expiring and then living again by the exchange of perceived destructive flames in the words to ultimate resurrectionary ones. We are allowed to control them, too, you see.
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/colin-insole/
THE UNDERPASS by Forrest Aguirre
In rhythm with ‘Bowenesque shoals of the dead’ that I mentioned above, this is a powerful evocation of the pain and guilt felt by an American soldier after the Second World War, and those he had let down and the places whose curse needs to be transcended or paradoxically being cured by taking on even more guilt in, say, letting down again a soldier whom he once let down and who ended up with a yellow star in a concentration camp by bedding his wife after peace is declared and after meat comes off rationing — mixing hallucinating corridor angles on a clacking train, finding past enemies in friendly lands and, alongside those shoals of the dead, passing under a Passover, I somehow infer, as tunnel…
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/forrest-aguirre/
THE TRAIN’S PATH by Brian Evenson
Crystallising the physical fear of the cinematic image of a train heading towards the audience, a fear first mentioned in this book by the Waki story, this is a truly haunting work that should not be missed by all Evenson enthusiasts targeting them! The concept will stay with you of a mangled ghost (later healing itself or not) as the residue of the physical self that still lives after actually seeing or imagining the moving image of a train in visual artwork…. And the artwork or painting angle conjured here made me look at my own fireplace after remembering (I think I recall) the Magritte hint earlier in the Waki work again!
The boyish daredevilry of coin bending, too.
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/brian-evenson/
VOD, THE WRECKER by Adam Cantwell
“He dreamed of blooming sheets of torn steel like carnivorous bat-nose flowers.”
This is an extended panoply of wrecking and scrappage and deliberate accidentologies of trains, and the character VOD who I suggest will become one of your iconic characters in literature and this book’s ultimate contrôleur, control beyond even reader-power or -passion! The text itself is one huge concatenation of his activities in a style that in no way I can do justice to by describing it. It simply needs to be experienced. An entropy’s entropy, the ultimate hardcore apotheosis as a cathartic or creative entropy beyond entropy as we previously understood it.
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/adam-s-cantwell/
VOD – VOID without reader as ‘I’?
THE STATION OF GREY GLANCES by Thassio Rodriguez Capranera
“There was an old man, a guy named Linotti, he was a pussy, an asshole as they said . . .”
Beyond this story’s factories, I am that old man, too, who also comes back in at the end and defeated yet again as reader and controller, thanks a bunch! This is craquelure literature supreme, with a black narrator who sets the tone of colours, him black and tall, and others who are or become white, grey or even transparent grey if you are dragged under by the train from the station you do not recognise that makes you think you had lost a day; I do not recognise this place but it has factories and the narrator works oppressed in one bottling beer, with noise and noise. I’ll quote bits below, or retell bits, within reason, to show the context, people called Italians and others, in South America or Italy or wherever. The venue of the plot with factories and shopfronts is thus, for me, like his missing station, hanging fractured like haunts … and his wife with big belly who stinks. The stations of the turnstile, not the cross. “I would slap Christ if he looked at me funny.” Importing Waki fucks, too — and a train going “slower than a stuttering priest’s mass.” No clock in the station, so allowing Zeno’s Paradox to go even slower… turning into rats, rats, rats. And “TRANG TRANG TRANG”, train wheels, and the brakes like a squeaky girl’s scream, big belly birth of wife as a natural progression, thus snuffing out any Anti-Natalism thoughts by that first asshole old man, I guess. Or are the rats the rats of a Rasnic Tem? “I remember well that it’s still with the Tac tac temm temm of the factory, and the tchaquetchaque of the train…”
“After all, it worked to wait, another time.” Bottle cap, loose. So much more I’ve not told you of what is in this story. And some things I may have told you that are in the story that are not? And then, of course, as I said, here I am, near the end of this story’s text, now, still writing this, just! — but soon out of control as the reader, the biggest asshole of them all “like a bunch of old man withering.” (sick) (sic)
“…silent and gray-eyed people with no names.”
MURDERER TRAINS by Luis Bonafoux
“…nobody could know the facts until the corpse arrived at the station where the trains go to die.”
A fine short coda to yet another staggeringly disturbing anthology from Raphus Press … and now I eternally hold my breath as a reader within Zeno timeless WAKIng somnia null immortalis — in case, otherwise, one of the co-vivid murderers who plague trains these days hangs out of this coda’s text and stoves-in my fucking head with a hammer as a sort of finale.
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