NIGHTJAR PRESS 2022 – my previous reviews of this publisher HERE
Throttle Baby by Andrew Hook, Imber by DH Thomas, The Photographer by Maxim Jakubowski, The Birthday Presence by me.
When I review (or re-view!) these fiction works, my comments will appear in the comment stream below…
This is a pervasively anxiety-driven story about a man driving his post-teen daughter in the car and half-swiping something or someone at the edge of woodland… and effectively making the incident into a hit and run that thereafter nags invasively the reader, perhaps worse than it does the man himself. The signature perhaps shows it was a squashed or scrawled deer-something after all? A man is one who lectures on ‘car crash culture’ and its film techniques, e.g. in connection with the tritely cinematic “zig-zagging” of hands and elbows miming the handling of the steering wheel in such crashing situations. And other cinematic sleights of hand. A story of idling, the agonising of stalling, worrying in hindsight and in interface with the grown-up daughter’s own thoughts on the matter and her later actions and requests, and the intriguing concept of ‘throttle body’, a day after I had to terrifyingly nurse my own car home quite a distance in second gear after the gearbox crashed. Perhaps I should have left the car behind, or read this story first. But impulses are peculiar things as are other things that interest me and make me anxious in this work: e.g. a reference to The Residents, a group that this author once wrote a whole book about that I reviewed, a second reference to ‘zigzag’, and here it is appositely a “zigzag across the pattern”, the pattern, as is my wont, that I try to give fiction works when reviewing them, and there are mentions of “elbow grease”, and of “connections no one would see other than him”, while I felt an obliquely geared empathy with him all the way through, wondering which words were crashed and which were left undamaged by my reading. I shall just wait for that knock on the door. It was my son with me, not my daughter, I shall tell them. Then to clean the porridge plates. And so much more to think about and to mention to you alongside different camera angles.
My previous reviews of Andrew Hook: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/3228-2/
The above review is of THROTTLE BODY by Andrew Hook.
Cross-referenced Throttle Body later the same day with THAT DIETH NOT by H. Russell Wakefield here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/10/28/the-frontier-guards-by-h-r-wakefield/#comment-25669
IMBER by DH Thomas…
THROTTLE BODY by Andrew Hook….
”There were regular car crashes.”
A story not about my nightjar’s Thomas by another Thomas, but a story told about himself by a narrator who is working in a petrol garage at night on a road subject to even worse shunts than Hook’s, near Imber, I assume, info about which place I have factored into it. This narrator is a readerly, if not writerly, man, though his narration proves he is more writerly than otherwise, a man who did such night jobs here and in Taxi firm offices, and he has the parthenogenesis, if not photosynthesis, of his gestalt of photos he’d take of ready-mades and found art or simply offbeat objects he spontaneously chose to put into this Tarot pattern, as I will now do myself using this evocative narration of place and time in another car crash culture of shallow folk as well as ‘edgelords’: instead, though, I will photo a few of these with positive words rather than photo negatives… Costa machine, fridges, Tina’s videos, avant-garde noise as music, mowing a lawn after Viagra, the crucified Buster and the amazing car crash sting ending that makes Hook’s nightjar jar even more synergistic. Not forgetting, of course, Thomas’s trinity of peacocks on a cemetery wall.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER by Maxim Jakubowski…
Possible plot spoiler below, a blur that needs to be airbrushed, too…
”I was getting old. And it scared me.”
It is as if the signature is slowly attenuating to nothing, too? As are eventually the serial photos taken of his nude body taken by Anaïs? The story of a writer, a narrator with whom Thomas in my own nightjar would empathise, well, at least, regarding the fact of having “measured my life by the books and stories I have written”, some SF, as it says in this nightjar, but not necessarily empathising with this narrator’s parade of women.
A very engaging work, effectively conveying the narrator’s sex and artistic and personal life and his photographing with more easy digital availability that Thomas would appreciate, my Thomas, not necessarily D.M. Thomas.
He was never a selfie man, he says. Wondrously characterised by narration about himself and about Anaïs, and their travels together in the potential Autumn of his years, an ‘improvised symphony’ of all those women with whom he had had sex. My equivalent symphony, in contrast, has a single, if complex and lengthy, movement. Significant that the first photo by Anaïs on her expensive camera that he saw of his naked self was in a Ukrainian restaurant? Dorian Gray, eat your heart out. My Thomas, meantime, would love the synergy…
“…I was more of an improviser of words on the page and an increasingly tired one at that.”
THE BIRTHDAY PRESENCE by D.F. Lewis…
”And they both laughed, as they passed each other on the zigzag slopes.”
This feels different now.
I will not be presumptuous enough to describe, interpret or evaluate this möbius section about Thomas in mutual synergy with Nightjar Press. Other than to say that I feel extremely proud and the experience has altered the state of my own self-regard, if not of any selfie. I will merely mention that the word ‘elbowing’ seems to have turned out to be at the most meaningfully personal core of this möbius! A word that is one of the very few in this work that is not repeated.
My signature has two dots, always has had! Thomas and me.
I am a selfie man, after all. The dome is the opposite of Jakubowski’s narrator’s attenuation!! It was the way it was taken. Or it is as real as it is now.
“…Des’s Nightjar, which he mentions here, because he knows we wanted him to,…”
— A quote from Nightjar Press’s tweet about the above reviews this morning. 🙂