THE TOBACCONIST’S CONCESSION by John Travis
“The end of the world was making everybody crazy, Pestilence decided.”
An astonishing romp of a surreal happening with loads of nifty visions couched in even niftier words, involving a fart as blatant as JAWS 1, a hotel with secret tunnel from room 1127 to a SPRAWL as a sort of cave system, a hotel itself a quick change Hotel into an urban prison, and a man who inherited the hotel from his Dad and manages it up front with all the guests like Basil Fawlty (but nicer), a manager whose Angel is, I infer, a bird with a pink feather who owes him a favour, and there is a Conjurors’ convention, and their magic cabinets with comings and goings, and fancy dress people, and a sinister cove who demands his POWDER that is a bit more illegal than tobacco, I guess! And a giant who unwinds from a car at the beginning. No way I can do justice to it now that I’ve read it all. Perhaps best to have not read it at all and remained who I was before reading it. But all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, even with this ‘end of the world’ partygate. So, yes, best of all, I’ll just keep my powder dry. And just take the nifty penknife with me. “Open, close. Open, close.”
‘Pangloss’ tweet issued about an hour ago, by chance…
THE CHAIR by R. Ostermeier
“Sound was scared…”
“…a slouched house”
“Paul and Ingrit ate, her elbows high in the air.”
This novelette starts as an ingenious satire upon ‘HOUSE Of Leaves’ with photos and numbered ‘sessions’; it becomes a genuine tragedy emerging from beneath the veil of creative absurdism and dark strangeness, DANGER become ANGER, and finally an incalculable certainty of insane impulses, and the infections-between stemming from the angles and niches of this story as well as of its house.
A family, each eventually a dream’s shadowy third to the other two: father Paul, mother Mari and eleven year old daughter Ingrit, starting with the ongoing father-daughter bonding after moving to this house, a house with unmitigateable oubliettes that were first spawned for me while reading and reviewing another book in last few days HERE. The chair on rails what sort of chair mad dentist or mad scientist ejector seat ants’ nest sausage dog bed magnet trails of filing blame taphephilia generational gestures jumping the rails of zips the two wolves in the head syndrome and a secret room and the eponymous chair the daughter finds ‘comfy’, not telepathy so much as decanted dreams but also infection of the very review I am now doing in its viral unvaccinateable flugue state as part (ii) of some pattern within it – “the state before structured dreams were transferred was confused, a state of knitting narrative, his brain able only to pick up jigsaw pieces but finding no sense of a whole.”
I need a ‘wee button’, myself, methinks. My tank has run out of its fuel state. Can I swap my can for yours? Before I reach the end and put pencils in my nostrils. K-dots from the past, and the guilt involved, as a father with my own (now grown-up) children. No catharsis here provided by this novelette. Simply more and more iron filings pointing at me. All I can think of now are absurd catchphrases from a mutant Twin Peaks.
Reviews I write are distrustful of each other, now, nobody knows which to trust more than any other. — “squiggle writing that might be found on books in a dollhouse,” “Thribbage, Thrist”.
This work is more Aickman than James Joyce, though. More Christ than Thrist, in a redeemable sense? Or just “sleep scrap.”
A work sufficient to send me mad, yet strong enough to help me through the nights, helping me endure stoically my own ‘compressed water’ that keeps waking me up, co-vivid dream leaking into co-vivid dream, wee soft button pressed time and time again. My eyes now thankfully too doused to even cause me iritis. All primary pixels gone. I’ll likely need a catheter not a switched refill. Like an over-bonded kid competing with a parent in scales of highest stink.
A mighty novelette that is bespoke to each reader, I guess, via the very methods it deploys.“‘It’s so ugly,’ he said. ‘It’s so beautiful.’”
The Accursed Manor of the Mirrorlands by LC von Hessen
“Stairs that groan like old men underfoot.”
Stares at this old man who has been entirely fazed reading this, nay, reading it aloud like the perfect Gothic textual mirror of itself, with so many von Hessen quotable quotes fitting together tactilely and eschatologically and scatologically into a music fit for King Solomon’s Demons, apotheosising this author by this selfsame author as I have grown older knowing of this author already. Heady and hedonistic, sexual and Ligottian, with houses and clans and people and Frankensteins and a ‘you’ — is that you who now crawls squid-like through my mind? — a text full of dolls and fairy stories, backstories, and balls (that one dances) not wondering whether they are balls belonging to this work’s ‘pretty young men’ — and now what I understand to be a Destructive Parthenogenesis (although the text does not contain this word ‘parthenogenesis’): a new asexual literature of virgin births teeming with more sex than either an old man’s or manor’s asexuality or sexuality can reflect from the other. . .You heard about it all here first. Von Hessen essence.
“When we become them. And they become us.”
Reviews today of…. https://etepsed.wordpress.com/john-travis/ & https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/02/04/a-trick-of-the-shadow-by-r-ostermeier/ & https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/882-2/ (Hessen)
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