“Never, ever swim alone.”


“‘I’ll tell you something, Clara.  Have you ever SEEN a minute? Have you actually had one wriggling inside your hand?  Did you know if you keep your finger inside a clock for a minute, you can pick out that very minute and take it home for your own?’  So it is Paul who stealthily lifts the dome off. It is Paul who selects the finger of Clara’s that is to be guided, shrinking, then forced wincing into the works, to be wedged in them, bruised in them, bitten into and eaten up by the cogs.  ‘No you have got to keep it there, or you will lose the minute.  I am doing the counting – the counting up to sixty.’ . . . But there is to be no sixty.  The ticking stops.”
From ‘The Inherited Clock’ by Elizabeth Bowen 


SLOUGH by Glen Hirshberg

“Inherited. The clocks.”

This is a genuine horror story masterpiece, one to help cope with our own hateful times. I am surprised I had not heard of it before, and glad to have reunion with reading this author after so many years. You don’t often meet such masterpieces, but I met this one today, ever turning left when in any doubt till reaching What’s Left Beach, while travelling in the head of a woman called Gabbie, and amidst “the dangers of interpreting texts”, I got to some bespoke nub of this story. After dealing with presumptuous Daniel, she angles off to an earlier friend called Julian, crossing Rhode Island to reach him, with much protesting backstory as backdrop… and I was further excited to see this story has the relentless soul of my favourite author, Elizabeth Bowen, in both the beautifully startling style and the nature of a ticking Zeno’s Paradox as theme. Such mutual synergy is doubtless inadvertent between the souls of these two writers with their being otherwise worlds and times apart, but it may be that borrowing a swimsuit does link souls. Yet, their mutual synergy definitely stems from the preternatural literary gestalt not from each other. This story actually makes me say such things for the first time without worrying about my being called pretentious afterwards.
If I tell you the full plot’s rite of passage and what Gabbie sees on her journey and beneath the waves away from the wet rain, and what wonders of expression, image and vision that teem in whispers before the reader among the soft wagon houses, I would no doubt cover pages and pages with this review. The story just is. Where do I start? Where do I end? I had in my mind so many things to quote from it and events/emotions to point out to you from it, but I have come to the conclusion that I can only say you must go there from whatever presumption of place or person wherein you currently stand, using whatever route through it you might choose; indeed you MUST read this momentous story full stop

My previous reviews of Glen Hirshberg: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/glen-hirshberg/

Slough of Despond – they even sign ponds in Rhode Island…

The full context of this review…


“The writer, like a swimmer caught by an undertow, is borne in an unexpected direction.” — Elizabeth Bowen

My reviews of Elizabeth Bowen: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/31260-2/

One thought on ““Never, ever swim alone.”

  1. Pingback: Gestault Real-Time Reviews on my story, “Slough” – Glen Hirshberg

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