Interlopers at the Knap

“O no. I had only this infernal cough.”

“Either the moss and mildew have eat away the words, or we have arrived in a land where the natyves have lost the art o’ writing,…”

Orienteering by means of empty fingerposts where roads fork is one thing. But triangulating this book’s earlier “freaks of coincidence” by means of this story’s “momentary freak of fancy” is quite another! A puckish story by Thomas Hardy about many human manoeuvres that try to defy “the sport of fate”, while demonstrating the morbid Hardyesque ‘dying fall’ that ever prevails by dint of chance births and inevitable deaths in and around the realms of love and marriage, all as riven by politics-over-romance and mankind’s sheer bloody-minded stoicism. The “dilatoriness of watched pots”, stubborn pride and the sarcastic mention of “nice long speeches on mangold-wurzel”, as part of the literary gestalt and the “conjuncture” of manners and manoeuvres that have blighted humanity since time immemorial!

“It was the universal custom thereabout to wake the bees by tapping their hives whenever a death occurred in the household,…”

“…another attack of the cough, which seemed to shake him to pieces.”

from my review here:

Black River – Melanie Tem

A book first published in 1997, here Crossroads Press 2013. My previous reviews of Melanie Tem:

My previous reviews of older or classic books:

When I read this novel, covfefe permitting, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

EDIT (29/3/20): Perhaps a new way that, only in the last few weeks of my real-time, gives a revolutionary slant upon life today, with social distancing and isolation and renewed thoughts on death. One can only look at ANY fiction in this new corvid light now, I say. Even works-in-progress as this 1997 book happens to be to its new readers, a living, contemporaneously relevant entity of text gradually becoming what it happens to be in the eyes of any reader who has never read it before and is about to do so.

‘Dabbling With Diabelli’ cover

A most significant moment for me, as I am sharing the cover of DABBLING WITH DIABELLI (Eibonvale Press)
– a book collection of some of my favourite published 1990s stories from under my own authorship and as later substantially revised –
The cover is not yet finally perfected (it looks perfect to me!). It is still being worked on by the wonderful publisher. But I have been given permission by David Rix to share it with you all today.


OF WOOD, METAL, STONE: Some crucial images here: