This Wilkinson work, like many of his works, is the apotheosis of 20th century English literature in its short story form (such as William Trevor, Bernard MacLaverty and many others reviewed recently in Penguin anthologies here). This is therefore a work by a still living member of such a culture, since blended with the likes of Robert Aickman, Thomas Ligotti and Ramsey Campbell, and now Wilkinson is literally everywhere, pervasive as this M.R. James character come back into our own present day in the 21st century from even before the 20th century!
This is indeed the story of a man called Lenthall who lived with his body-carbuncle of an uncle in the uncle’s house, a regime with a strict no visitor policy and locking processes, but then the uncle dies and almost becomes the drained bodily fœtor of the sofa itself where he used to sit, or still sits on or within. Lenthall cannot envisage the front of the house, when he tries to describe it to an estate agent on the phone, the phone by which means the years’ deliveries left at a distance were arranged (no internet, then?)
Lenthall now even thinks of going on a warm exotic holiday, for which the uncle-corpse could await its being dealt with. Trouble with neighbours, too, a common theme in the Wilkinson canon. I cannot do justice to all this. I am just envisaging the state of my own sofa when I pass into it soon, or am I transliterating senilely into my own body’s alphabet morass from this unmissable Wilkinson quagmire of genuine literary gold?
Context of above review: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/11/25/vastarien-vol-5-no-2/
My previous reviews of Charles Wilkinson: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/charles-wilkinson-christopher-harman/