Possible Spoilers

The Always Rising of the Night

by Scott Nicolay

“Most any other time she would have pounced on the worm and gulped it down,…”

Part of me wanted to hate this novella, as I did not want it to excel those novellas from this mighty book that I have already praised, but, after a difficult, yet admirable, literary start with Joycean incantations, lost cats, waffling stew, a Stroopwafel, all on Deirdre’s aeroplane journey, and matchless, dense prose about imaginative Brazilian visions of salamanders and other scientific vistas and university research, as well as giant otters, a place where Deirdre’s Valkyrie of a daughter called Brigit vanished, and there are also swimming memories of Greg amidst his family store’s backstory, this being Deirdre’s husband and Brigit’s father who committed suicide, YES, after these challenging passages to read, this novella did not simply begin to captivate or capture me (as I said above about the Dumont work), but it literally ABDUCTED me just as paranoiac Deidre is tantamount to abducted for the cinematically described ‘Event’ at a ‘Pool Party’, abducted by Candace and by the other characters whom we have already met alongside her in the earlier events of the plot (here ending up like the group at the end of Rosemary’s Baby but at a wonderfully conveyed Renaissance Faire instead of a backroom).

A moon balloon, a windmill, and a sky without clouds included within this vision (part of the inadvertent trap I fell into, a trap echoing bits of Queen of Clouds and its pre-sequel The Moon King?); and there are echoes of all the reader-challenging visions earlier in this novella that one needs to be initiated into before reaching the cataclysmic climax, whatever the sad mother-daughter rift that still remains between a different Rosemary called Deidre and a different baby called Brigit, despite their linking-up preternaturally via the skilful word-ceremonies of this work.

Amazing images such as green towers et al, and this being a near future or parallel world with our own real historical events acting as backstory. The Locatrice Implacable and Roger’s loquat beer, the paranoia of being pursued by men in black and Robin(!), compare the Shadow Riders (At My Back…) …. And so much more.

There are four elbow triggers, two about a messy kitchen that Deirdre uses as therapy to clear up, as possibly I do here with the more challenging, arguably messier parts of this novella, but the important elbow trigger is the one that introduces the plot’s main cursor character Candace. The most startling moment, however, for me, one that possibly gave me the biggest frisson that any literary work has ever given me before, involved the remote sharing of a laptop computer, the moment in the plot where it happens being perfectly pitched and incredibly effective and arguably original. As was the later realisation that the text of this story itself had slowly typed out somewhere in it “IDESAM”.
This novella is a killer.

“The worm wriggled on but the salamander remained locked in her stance, one forefoot fixed in midair.”


Full Scott Nicolay collection context of above review here:

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