In The Mullygrubs

250A46D6-F8F8-4C89-84F2-A9D21BF295FATHE COUNT AND THE WEDDING GUEST
by O. Henry
“Gather the idea, girls — all black, you know, with the preference for crêpe de — oh, crêpe de Chine — that’s it. All black, and that sad, faraway look, and the hair shining under the black veil…”
A girl in China black, seemingly in the “mullygrubs”, enjoys dressing as a Goth, and makes up a whole story to a new admirer about a Count’s death in Italy, her fiancé, so that she can dress in black as mourning. In fact, all ends romantic and happy! Or does it? A neat ending to this story, whatever the case.
“I met him to-day on the Bowery, and what do you think he does? Comes up and shakes hands.”
— from my review HERE

The Cluley / Cully King

F3BBC7AA-E733-4C63-B5DF-E209CE00F775

Just added to the top of my Synchronicty Rampant list here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/synchronicity-rampant/

Georgina Bruce’s Honeybones: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/03/17/engines-beneath-us-honeybones/#comment-18558

Ray Cluley’s In The Wake of My Father: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/03/17/black-static-74-interzone-286/#comment-18564

Corvid (cf Covid): crow

#TTAPress

Third World War As An Unseen ‘Cloud’

CBE8552F-7ACD-41BC-9F92-6C63E5ADD096
A past prophetic alignment of the Second World War with our Third World War today as unseen ‘cloud’…

”We had been living a hidden vision for years. It was an effect of the long war. England had been a prison. Even the sky was closed and, like convicts, we had been driven to dwelling on fancies in our dreary minds. In the cinema the camera sucks some person forward into an enormous close-up and holds a face there yards wide, filling the whole screen, all holes and pores, like some sucking octopus that might eat up an audience many rows at a time.”
…a quote given in my review of a VS Pritchett work here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/essential-stories-v-s-pritchett/

C54318C5-39FF-49F1-B679-5C58A96FE1D2
.
And I also can’t actually believe the final story in the latest edition of Black Static – and its prophetic relevance to our current virus circumstances !!!!!!!
See my review:
https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/03/17/black-static-74-interzone-286/

The Withered Arm – Thomas Hardy

5B43345B-C869-4E3A-A8AE-25FE7FBB1400THE WITHERED ARM by Thomas Hardy

“A white bonnet and a silver-coloured gownd. It whewed and whistled so loud when it rubbed against the pews…”

You must already know this Egdon Heath and Casterbridge story. So, no need to re-rehearse the plot for you. And I have simply read it again and laid myself open to its meaning as evolved subconsciously in my mind throughout the last 12 years of self-training in the art and freewheeling rigour of gestalt real-time reviewing. A story of milking and milkmaids, and of two women, both betrayed by the same man, and of the boy-child that he gave one of them. There emerge “freaks of coincidence”, and a mutually synergistic curse as balanced by alternating dream-streams between the two women, a curse inadvertently aimed by each of them at the other — one woman as an “incubus” upon the other’s body, the latter who then stigmatises or squeezes the former’s arm with a recognisable four-fingered grip… and an identity later revealed by a singularly conjured floating egg-yolk face just as, at the end, we see that boy-child now grown into a man subjected to an undeserved hanging, duly stigmatised or squeezed, this time by a rope — and, eventually, I feel, there evolves a new mutual synergy of the other egg-yolk face precariously balanced or suspended “to the rhythm of alternating milk-streams.”

From my review here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/collected-short-stories-thomas-hardy/

Engines Beneath Us

My review today of this TTA Novella…

ENGINES BENEATH US
By Malcolm Devlin

9E895FB1-86B7-4C2E-B7E9-36545792F663“We took care of the city, we took care of Mr Olhouser, and he took care of us.”

When I was a small boy in the 1950s, and often put to bed too early, I created in my mind or BY my mind a hub outside the working class house where we lived near the recreation ground or green, a hub in the pavement that reached beyond itself into a machine room below our terrace of houses from where I could control somehow the roots of my downtrodden background in what then seemed a communication with the rest of the world, where I seemed to work at these things, as perhaps this novella’s Mr Olhouser worked. I have since related my memory of that hub to the then future Internet. Now the memory has darker roots, those relating, in this novella itself, to when my own, as well as Rob’s, Dad’s “overalls smelt of iron and oil and earth.” So reading this just now has taught me a lot, as well as hinting to me why my story ‘A Halo of Drizzle Around an Orange Street Lamp’ in the Big-Headed People book was written, a story wherein a night picnic was arranged on the green whereon these houses bordered… and why the events of that night were later recorded in the Family Bible …But this novella varies it: “A circle of orange streetlights against a velvet blue black sky; the thin white halo which surrounded The Works. The street was still and Old Elsie had gone.” You will never forget Old Elsie, the bag lady, as described by this novella, as told by the story of Rob, as narrator, and of another boy who comes anew to the Crescent called Lee. And The Works as a sort of hub of the Crescent (part of today’s working class or gang-controlled streets), a hub for the city with machines throbbing below: The Works that are sometimes more like mining or hawling rocks, rocks grinding together. My Welsh forebears were coal hawlers and miners. Miners of mine. And the tunnel-back two up two downs or back lane houses, even semi-detached, reflecting each others’ interiors, housing insidious cultures that do more good than harm, I now hope. A culture like today’s coronavirus (that orange drizzle and halo mentioned above!) and we surely need Mr Olhouser’s ‘tonic’ (“clawing at my lungs, reaching deep inside of me.”) even more! Notwithstanding the teeming mice and their pink squirming young. Rob’s encounter with the true nature of the Works and wondering if he shall ever meet Lee again, as he now sometimes does or does not, in later life. Headstrong and crime-sneaky Lee, in those boyhood days, with his comic heroes and rumours of what he had once done to his Mam, Lee who then tempted more than he should have done vis à vis Mr Olhouser. Childhood seen from a distance, it says somewhere here. Even a taste for opera in the case of Rob’s Dad. Lee’s narration about following some strange antics by Old Elsie are melodramatic info-dumps of dialogue, but is he acting, speaking by rote, pretending, still tempting the untemptable? Slow and quick at once. The city that is older than the law, hawled by such Crescent forces. Fragments re-jigsawed from those lodged in deep memory. Someone elsewhere in this novella has a metaphor about jigsaws, that I cannot find now, but this ostensibly was beyond what such a humble working-class mind might have thought of. But it was part of the hawling beneath her feet, I guess, making such humility the greatest wisdom of all…the greatest gift of wisdom from among many such in this bespoke haunting novella. Bespoke for each reader. I have merely told you mine. My mother, too, when I was that child with whom I started this review … “She’d set a fresh glass of tonic on the cabinet. She told me I should stay in bed, and she reached across to feel my forehead, as though either of us believed I might have a temperature.”

“The day resumed as though it had stopped to watch me fooled.”

My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/malcolm-devlin/