Edited by Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood
Cover: “Delta Santori” by Steve Upham
Contributors: Allen Ashley, Rafe McGregor, Alex De-Gruchy, Harris Coverley, Charles Wilkinson.
My previous reviews of TQF: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/theakers-quarterly-fiction/
When I read the fiction, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…
There may be some delay before being able to commence this book.
Some Things Drift Apart by Allen Ashley
“I let the words and images sink in and suddenly I understood. Some things drift apart and some join up. We were dealing with a gestalt being.”
This is an ingenious story without being a story at all! It is a tranche of speculation somehow storifying a man not quite ready for the trappings of old age retirement, who has drifted apart from his wife, now fighting a corporate blending of myths, legends, piscine flesh and neo-plastic, in the form of monsters along the east coast where I live and, so, we are fighting them on the beaches! — literally at many places including “Clacton” explicitly! A war against Putin now become a war against PollUTIoN? Even against a new Lidl building as a child’s toy! And featuring an old public computer that bears a handwritten sign not to watch mermaid porn on it!
“Yet how could we fight something that could so easily combine and then disperse?”
My previous reviews of Allen Ashley: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/allen-ashley-matt-cardin/
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
— W.B. Yeats
Somehow, I think I was simply MEANT to read the Allen Ashley story today after finishing this Nicolay book yesterday: https://etepsed.wordpress.com/scott-nicolay/#comment-2493
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See How They Run! See How They Run! by Harris Coverley
“He grabbed it by the frocky end and shoved it under the couch,…”
I simply loved this funny fable with strange names about a hierarchy of beings, and the nearest I can get is Lafferty or even Vance? But uniquely Swiftian in its own way, where wisdom is not necessarily wise enough to recognise a greater wisdom in a seemingly lowlier being. Pets and the bones they can’t let go of. And I myself gnawed away at the ‘hoom’, thinking it might be the David Hume who, according to the Internet, ‘argued against the existence of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge derives solely from experience.’ Or ‘Lost’ Desmond Hume? Till I thought, with some relief, that this is not a fable at all, but an entertaining story for its own sake. Bones don’t last forever.
Cross-referenced the Coverley later this morning with Chapter 7 here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/03/31/two-novels-by-william-trevor/#comment-24659
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July Job Offer by Charles Wilkinson
I have read much Charles Wilkinson in the past, one of my favourite writers; in fact I first encountered him in THEAKER’S where they serve good beer with a polite smile. Or am I thinking of Theakston’s Old Peculier? Well, this one takes the reading head right off, as if the rest of my body were a tee. It is ostensibly a satire on a Golf Club and its type of members and their dislike of anything alien, even to the extent of frowning upon buttoned-down collars on woke pink shirts — a Golf Club on the same coast as the Allen Ashley monsters, but here they are versions of Hell’s Angels as created from the well-aged mulch in Wilkinson’s brain, paid for by mounds of loose change to the Club’s surly barman, a bar open to the public as part of local planning demands, and there is an old fogey called Vaunce, not Vance, who ends up [SPOILER] like a Chinese potentate of yore. I’d finish this review if I hadn’t got to go off and see a man about a dog. Whatever, with its headless massacre of meaning and message, this story is couched in a prose style to die for.
PS: Wisdom trickles down or up? — maybe what this story’s message is asking as a coda to Coverley?
My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/charles-wilkinson-christopher-harman/
Pingback: Theakston’s Old Peculier (sic) | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews
From mention of planning laws in the Wilkinson, to a “supernatural horseshit” town, “the wooden buildings laid out with little consideration for town planning”, now abandoned …
In the Shadows of the Past by Alex De-Gruchy
“If you were gonna shoot me, I’d be offended if you didn’t buy me a drink first.”
Two bounty hunters meeting, after some years, in a whiskey bar thousands of miles, and I’d say a million years, from the bar in Wilkinson’s golf club, but with hideous things afoot alike, one of these hunters, the narrator, haunted, if not hunted, by his own narration and by a past in the form of his late lamented love Claudia, who encourages him to forget her and enter the future….
And this readably adept pulp story makes me think I left THEAKER’S bar and really entered the magical and burn-scarred bodies of a so-called seasoned magician who fights a greenhorn magician, and who wins? Well wisdom flows, here, not trickles, flows not down or up, but in spirals and circles, as once scrawled on a derelict chapel’s walls, flame fighting flame, and the already good-as-dead spear-carriers become all of us except for that single future’s self transcending the past so as to live forever, “rolled up around his elbows,…”
And, thus, my congratulations to THEAKER’s for reaching 70. A rare achievement for any small press magazine, a giant of its Zeno-paradoxical time. Fire still fighting fire inside.
25 % of this issue is devoted to book reviews by Rafe McGregor and Stephen Theaker.