Real-Time Review continued from HERE

Aldeburgh – Johnny Mains
“…shaken by the invisible line between his writing and the truly unknown.”
This, equivalent to Fry’s joined-up text-line, reaches a collaborative, wind-shaken gap or hiatus here along the mixed waters of the river of truth and fiction (that I have long called: ‘the synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’), and  an effective ‘collaboration’ between an ‘involved’ reader and the writer of the story (‘Warning to the Curious’)  which is featured by this other (‘Aldeburgh’) story where both of these people feature as characters, explicitly so.  This is an engaging story about the real M.R. James in Aldeburgh, stalked by a reader of ‘Warning to the Curious’ who believes, with potential growing violence, that the fiction-truth collaboration wavers nearer truth than fiction regarding his own father’s quest for the Anglo-Saxon Crowns etc. And the spot on the Aldeburgh beach where both James and the ‘reader’ reach is, to my mind, exactly where Maggi Hambling’s sculpture of ‘Scallops’ (mentioned earlier in this book’s ‘Deep Water’) is positioned today, and I humbly propose this sculpture can be seen as a fanned-out symbol of the remaining shards of James’ Anglo Saxon Crowns, not Scallops.  There is some very good writing in this Mains tale and it is worthy of attention for any lovers of M.R. James fiction and any vulnerabilities as a character that one may infer about James himself. The plot also features James reading a Horror Anthology [the Screaming Book of Horror’ (the words scream and screaming crop up in ‘Aldeburgh’) or ‘The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies’?]. The tale also mentions “a pleasing terror” that relates to my earlier mention of Warm and Comfortable Terror in  respect of this East Anglian anthology, yet with fine descriptive horror passages, as in this Mains tale, that give a real edge of Terror, accentuated by the traditional garb whence it appears. [p175 ‘whipped passed’ should be ‘whipped past’.] (17 Oct 12 – 8.50 am bst)

Like Suffolk, Like Holidays – Alison Littlewood
“…all in a flowing script he could feel when he touched them.”
This will become a classic, I’m sure. Well, it already is, of course, but with the one flaw: it is Horror, Terror supreme that many would not want to read. We’re explicitly led to enjoy its ‘perfection’, lulled and relaxed into another ‘warmth and comfort’, a story that is its own holiday from this couple’s marital strains whence they come no doubt with the council bins outside where they normally live (cf the rubbish ‘beens’ and ‘binbags’ I picked out earlier in this book, with no premonition, I promise you, that they would later become significant in this Littlewood story).  The book’s endemic marital strains started with ‘Deep Water’ (a story that is in kinship with this story) which also features Aldeburgh, Sizewell  etc… Here we are mainly in nearby Thorpeness – which I know well – and the couple are staying in the ‘perfect’ cottage, even the woman’s sweet dimples re-trenching to accentuate the moment’s ‘perfection’. To say more would spoil this story and its truly horrific ending. Suffice to say, it is one of those classics you shall always remember, bar the nucleus of a possible blind spot…(or double space?)  (17 Oct 12 – 10.00 am bst)

[The treasure-seeking in ‘Aldeburgh’ akin to beachcombing is also akin to the scavenging for treasure in Mains’ own Tip Run story in the Screaming Book of Horror that I have just finished reviewing. Also, perhaps, akin to my typo-hunting which is really a spin-off from my seeking the elusive double-space!] (17 Oct 12 – 12.15 pm bst)




One response to “*

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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