23 thoughts on “These Long Teeth Of The Night — Alexander Zelenyj

  1. The nemo is an evolutionary force, as necessary as the ego. The ego is certainty, what I am; the nemo is potentiality, what I am not. But instead of utilizing the nemo as we would utilize any other force, we allow ourselves to be terrified by it, as primitive man was terrified by lightning. We run screaming from this mysterious shape in the middle of our town, even though the real terror is not in itself, but in our terror at it.”
– John Fowles (from ‘The Necessity of Nemo’ in ‘The Aristos’ 1964)

    I am not reading the intros or authorial notes in this book till I complete my review below upon all the pure story texts themselves, read and eked them out gradually and savoured them, and commented upon them, or regathered my comments from the past having read some of the stories before…

    The first story below I have not read till now, and today it hits me like a literary dagger in the reading belly.
    
Ave Maria — 
Mater Dei — 
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus
 — Ora pro nobis
 — Ora, ora pro nobis peccatoribus
 —Nunc et in hora mortis…

    ***

    Maria, Here Come The Death Angels!

    “They each of them owned lost eyes.”

    A threnody of Viet Nam, I believe, leasehold soldiers licking their wounds in the jungle, later rescued by helicopters that they see as angels, or is it some freehold angel among the men, with connivance of the freehold author, sees himself as an angel like those, with, I guess, a copter blade stowed somewhere about him? And, later, a different and callow soldier lovingly mooning about a girl, his sweetheart, either as a photo in his pocket or as words in this text masquerading as a photo, while he relaxes in a local bar with one fellow soldier whom I mistook earlier to be something else. Or do I mistake him now even as what it’s called? And what that photo really showed, perhaps nothing? The rest needs to be read as in the glory of gorily mystic words, read by my own lost eyes.

  2. The Potato Thief Beneath Indifferent Stars

    “…the dark crack between door and doorframe grew large enough for him to step through, and deep enough for him to fear.”

    I simply knew that one day I would reach the reading of a fiction that would be so true in what it meant to me as a potentiality at the time I read it, then I would be entranced by it forever. I felt that with this story, it being, for me, an apotheosis in an alternate world of pure Elizabeth Bowen and, especially, her Apple Tree syndrome now become one of pommes de terre, blended with a Rasnic Tem depicting old age as leading to a wondrous if often dark transformation of senility, and thus I can give it no greater praise than that.
    The quote above from the Zelenyj version seems to encapsulate the trepidation of my fully stepping into its world. It’s a rich world, uniquely Zelenyj whatever the other distillations I make from it, whereby an old man finds what he deems to be a girl but not a girl, eating his potatoes in his potato field. He even hits her as an impulse with his spade in a mixture of fear and wonder. His usual dreams of a jungle that echo the fact that this man’s late wife was called Maria somehow in tune with the jungle in the previous story, and her soul he now scries from the skies of stars above him, yes, these usual dreams become a co-vivid reality as part of a now spiritual microclimate of his potato farm home. With a ‘sister sizzle’ and a spray of creatures that also outdo many traditional SF vistas I have read before.
    There is so much more I could tell you about this story, most of which would be plot spoilers. Suffice to say, it is exquisite in every way. And I am glad I read it today, not fifteen years ago, it having been first published in 2007… because today I empathise with this old man’s “…feeling the boy hidden inside of his ancient skeleton settle into his skin and take over the smile he smiled. A wide smile, and open.”

  3. Pingback: To Take Over The Smile He Smiled | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

  4. A regathered review regarding the next story, as follows, in its then context…

    ================================================

    “When God laughs at the soul and the soul laughs back at God, the persons of the Trinity are begotten.”
    ― Meister Eckhart

    THE PRIESTS

    “Three bodies; one gestalt, a single home of connected limbs:”

    A truly remarkable vision of a single being made of three separately endowed men nicknamed collectively The Priests, who takes sanctuary with a pastor. Eventually there are pitchforks, pieties and pities clamouring for him outside. The Priests’ tales of carnivals and circuses where he had spent his life, and of his bodily machinations, you will not forget. Unless you are the publisher or the author, you perhaps heard about him here first.

  5. A Gift From the World

    “This wasn’t a selfish gesture. This was meant to be. The waters of Heaven don’t
    give up their gifts without good reason, after all.”

    This may last forever. It is a genuinely suspenseful and somehow darkly inspirational work, where the most makeshift man-made container perhaps can give to us a primeval new coming, the birth of a better world? Christ as fish? Ostensibly, at first a narration by a ‘cop’ about himself and his cop partner woman Delaney in their grim duties entailed by a dystopic city, full of radiation and growing crime. All perfectly conjured up from the depths of the words.
    Until he finds in an alley a seeming deliberately and unaccountably positioned fish that he takes back and places in a bucket, later to cook for Delaney as part of some sort of confessional process? And all this despite the intense heat and the spying sky-cams and the suspect entropy of mutation. The outcome, punctuated by an artful change of narrative point of view, is what you make of it. Bespoke to each reader, and my own bespoke revelation was this work’s preternatural synergy with a quite different story called Cardboard City I read and reviewed yesterday here. Thus demonstrating the reciprocation of the falling from the sky to the rising up again, the latter as embodied in this Zelenyj story: “…convulsing in her nest of cardboard boxes and filth until he witnessed her spirit leave the broken shell of her and lift toward the rectangle of sky framed between the buildings…”
    You may feel it is all darker than that and no such thing was intended. I fear you may be right. At least there is always the hope of hope from interpretation, and without art or literature interpretation would be impossible.

  6. Pingback: The Ultimate Reciprocation | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

  7. A Roman Plague

    “…lopping off an arm at the elbow in a geyser of crimson;”

    I can’t pretend to fully understand the history or military logistics demonstrated in words by this tour de force about Roman colonialism, indeed by this apotheosis of the horror and glory of gory — but you surely must read it just for that fell hedonism in this poetic prose story of swords & sorcery. Nothing else in the dark annals of literature holds such power, I guess. Not understanding this 2014 work, though, did not prevent me aligning it like a prophetic fable to today’s foul warring events, without forgetting our own recent plague of covivid nightmare, too!

  8. The next two reviews below are re-lived from my past enjoyment of Zelenyj’s work…

    =======================================================

    BLACKER AGAINST THE DEEP DARK

    “He smelled the miracle of the white flowers’ perfume…”

    The Gestalt promise is there at outset, as this work starts with a quote from Matsuo Bashō singing resonantly with a substantial review I just finished of THE BOOK OF FLOWERING here and it also meshes with the inferred shadow of Hiroshima in Murakami’s KAFKA ON THE SHORE that I happen already to be simultaneously reviewing here, and darkly melds, too, I also infer, with Zelenyj’s own THE TEST-TUBE FAMILY above. The lessons of history to a hard-working Japanese man from its shadow-people, haunting as a stand-alone work as well as part of something far more intrinsic.

    ***
    HIGHWAY OF LOST WOMEN

    “: let whatever’s inside you out onto the paper.”

    Go into whichever of the “naked fields” takes you, I guess. Not having read this incredibly compelling story until now, I wonder what on earth induced me to give you that quote above about the miracle of ‘white flowers’, but now I know! This is the story of four disparate young women, but all four of them friends from school, off on an adventurous journey by car, a catharsis of selves with all their backstories laid out here, so well developed as characters, I could really believe in them. One a dreamcatcher, as it were, another with a black hole like that earlier shadow out of time. All in amicable (sometimes inimical) conflict towards a Gestalt of self-discovery when faced with what or whom they were faced on the lost highway. A tomboy odyssey with vags and matured flowers. A Vault Memory. Also a sort of ‘picnic at hanging rock’ scenario (the Joan Lindsay novel reviewed here). “…a moment seemed stretched, prolonged, eternal.”
    (Also a prefiguring of Area X.)

  9. On Tour With The Deathray Bradburys

    “777:”

    This is a very accessible / readable account — but with a-no-holds-barred academic /true-mystic expression — regarding the eponymous music group, a topic which I have encountered before HERE in ANIMALS OF THE EXODUS — and its SIRIUS ‘BIG DOG’ (preternaturally relevant today of all days in UK, as it happens!) and DOGON…
    … and perhaps another connected music group called THE RESIDENTS a book about which I reviewed HERE.

    This now completes some sort of pattern for me as to the GESTALT. I was meant to read it today, and whenever you happen to read it, the same will be true. The trappings and the lyrics and the fans’ suicide cults are merely camouflage for something else in this Vale of Eibon where we find ourselves living and breathing just for a nonce.

    Another part of the pattern — perhaps the most significant one HERE contained within REQUEST FOR AN EXTENSION ON THE ‘CLARITY’ — to the above work’s DOGON and arguably to Stephen King’s DOGAN in ‘The Dark Tower’ reviewed in 2011 as linked in full from HERE (if not Lovecraft’s DAGON.)

    In fiction, belief is everything, but in fiction belief is also necessary, nay, vital.

    ***

    From my review HERE of THE DARK TOWER (Song of Susannah) in 2011: The beauty of the power of the Dharmic Dogan is that you can’t explain it. Like two or three or, even, four people using one body – this is also an inscrutably hybrid method of inner and outer surveillance-with-monitors beyond the simple reading of a book or, even, any reading between its lines…

  10. Pingback: On Tour With The Deathray Bradburys – Alexander Zelenyj | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

  11. My previous review of the next story, in its then context (https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/blacker-against-the-deep-dark-alexander-zelenyj/#comment-14842) …

    =====================================================

    JOURNEY TO THE END OF A BURNING GIRL

    “You want to see V? I know where he is. And I know where the Saint is.”

    Just made a powerful start reading this novelette.

    (Possible spoilers)

    As I have now found, this novelette possesses within its plot — as well as is — its own powerful drug, one new to our world in fictional concept and in its real impossible heavyweight encapsulation, one that eases, in a reader’s felt ways, the pain of our Ligottian Bladerunning world of cities that makes you burn within the soul as well as burn others as cure and ultimate hawling of the soul’s gestalt from the mechanised fakeman you leave behind. Also, I infer, like Eve’s snake sloughed off from the girls she became in such cities. The running of this drug is being investigated by a couple, Clark and Kessel, similar to that investigating couple in the X Files, I guess. Except, are they part of the cure as well as the killing of such a DEEsease? Donna’s disease. And there is a man called Philip and he seeks the Saint, the Saint as flawed or fake representative of this book’s Holy Spirit, perhaps, as part of this equivocal running of a kill & cure drug, a drug taking you out on a trip literally, bodily as well as spiritually. The X in X files, the upright V and its inversion below? The Book of Eibon’s Vale. A major, accessible, powerful work. Still working, as I write this.

    “It’s like Hiroshima. It blasts them — burns them — right into the ground.”

  12. In the City Where Dreams Wander The Sidewalks

    “It could be there, too. It could be anywhere at all in this small-ish city, so big, really, when you’re seeking to pin-point the nesting place of something shitty and black to the core.”

    This is so far the darkest dark core in a city of stories, whereby an observer who takes over the reader observes some others in the city, like a woman called Martha and also the Fisherman as author to hook us in, cohering a central evil creature abducting our young people and sending them back into the city somewhat worse than just drained. The style of the story itself makes it even more powerful than I dare tell you for fear of the narrative hook missing your attendance to its reading, by your running away from it before you start reading it, terrorised by the terror that is already in your self by already being you. Because it will make you its own central evil, draw you into the story vehicle by opening its door to the singular nemo that is you, the observer’s observer.

  13. Pingback: Two consecutive real-time reviews today… | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

  14. Gladiators in The Sepulchre of Abominations

    “He and the invisible insect colonies and flying V squadrons of geese sailing in the August sky.”

    And so, as with those ‘invisible insects’, when motes and mites at the end are conflagrated (“He wishes silently for the barn spiders’ and mice’s forgiveness”) as well as bigger creatures and monster being engulfed — leading to the ‘dying days of treasure spiders’ already spotted in this book’s next story’s title, a story as yet unread… literally grated as well as conflagrated (Cf ‘…scraping, grating its time-worn course’ in my crudely written ‘House of Cutt’ referenced below.) — ‘V squadrons’ indeed “Vindictive and violent. Vindicated…[…] as some bound victim vied for purchase in the dust and rocks or swerved to avoid some vicious hand of punishment.” The language scintillates and grates, too, beyond measure. And indeed this work is attritionally intense and, for me, indescribably cumulative in story-power, a story that will please fans of Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E Howard, as well as those who appreciate grating as well as blending such a reading experience against literary qualities and poetry, along with elements of imaginative vision that will stagger you with oblique absurdism, a tale of fatherly ‘cement fists’ as huge crude blocks, wielded by leather straps, scraping, grating together and pummelling any enemy as a mighty Conan might. [Cf some tiny elements (‘Rubbing two rough-cut granite blocks together, climbing the stairs?’) in my ‘House of Cutt’ story, as shown HERE and first published in 1988.] And follow this man called Billy travelling through the heat and dust (“ghost-points heat-miraging in the silence”), himself a dust mote soul of humanity among many, to his boyhood home and its barns and stables where a giant battle once happened against the ‘Cow Goddess’ (just harbour that phrase for a moment in your head; yet you will not even begin to encapsulate what you will eventually encapsulate about this by dint of the work’s words!) — a battle in the bowels of the earth once conducted by Billy’s father (“The strongest and most frightened man Billy had ever known”) and eventually by Billy alone, and conducted again today by him in horrific hindsight. While silence boomed, and an udder became dirigible. And as I did with those mites and motes, and dust motes, I felt somehow sad about the Cow Goddess as the biggest mote of all…

  15. Pingback: “ghost-points heat-miraging in the silence”  | The Gestalt Real-Time Reviews of Books

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s