DFL’s Real-Time Review of its Fiction and Poetry as continued from HERE.



9 responses to “*

  1. Fade by David Gullen
    “All through that split-second eternity…”
    Adding to the apportionable eternity gestalt of this book’s fiction and poetry so far…
    Also ‘Nature’s been rising ever since the Difference’ – with specific reference to a blackbird … The image gestalt.
    This story also resonates particularly with the Chinn and the Buchan, ‘the manipulation of conceptual armatures’ and the ethos of cruel-to-be-kind here brutally felt, as this fascinatingly delineated world of Difference (post holocaust?) slowly forms in the reader’s mind from the protagonist’s evolving soliloquy of narration, comparing Them and Proper Persons, and the Pattern to which they are signed up to physically as it were, and the shocking diversion from the Wordsworthian ‘Child is Father of the Man’, here of the Mother. Anything more about that would be a spoiler.
    Full of rain traps, flat roofs, survival … And that split second eternity is reprised later by another split second before the (possibly ventriloquised) scream. Should have rubbed his teeth with a stick, I guess.

  2. imageNarcissi by Douglas Thompson
    “…together with various hazy memories of biological diagrams. Before he knew it, he was thrusting inside one of the creature’s orifices…”
    From ‘manipulating conceptual armatures’ in the previous story, here we manipulate sex between human and alien in a curiosity shop in Paris: with, I reckon, the Euclidean geometry sexual positions of Joyce’s FINNEGANS WAKE (shown alongside from that very book which I am also concurrently real-time reviewing (click on diagram if you are interested in that review)) and the generic name of the alien – a Squailthronk – seems straight from that book! This is a truly HILARIOUS story from one of my very favourite authors whose writings I have frequently met over the last few years when real-time reviewing books that come under my critical purveyance. The story’s ending is a SUBLIME turnaround. One of a kind. (Compare the scenes in Chinn’s equivalent of the curiosity shop earlier in this book.)

  3. I had cause to mention the above Gullen story here a few hours later.

  4. One Inch Up by Anne Shah
    “While in Pakistan, you live your life under translucent veils, and peeling away one reveals a secret underneath, and beneath that lies another veil.”
    With piques as well as veils, the author’s female narrator tells an exquisitely written magic-realism – in the same miracle-politicle world as a long time favourite writer of mine: Salman Rushdie – comprising the recent history of Afghanistan, with such rarefication of vision, but also again with the amoral pragmatic quality first seen in the Fenn story … Fanon, Gramsci, but above all the ability to make merely an inch of floating above the ground as powerful, I guess, as soaring (like the cover’s image) into the infinite skies. Weighting themselves down with heavier footwear (cf Aunt Sadie’s shoes). But I also sense weighted by gems as stated sewn in clothes, not only for smuggling, but tethering to gravity as the gold sewn into the clothes of the female character in ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton. I also learnt a new word in this resplendent fiction work: ‘rhotacism’.

  5. image

    Rabbit by Al Kratz
    “The man in a white coat asked, ‘Was it a rabbit, or was it a boy.”
    The first of three consecutive (so-called) ‘flash fictions’ in this book.
    This one a cross between Al-in-Wonderland and a nightmare vision that is as wonderfully pointless as the earlier Buchan story. Or it went by in a flash – a take on abortion and its perceived self-justification, pre- and post-? And many flash fictions are often aborted at just the right point for optimum meaning later to emerge, upon due reflection. A cross between a imageboy and a rabbit as a parallel to the different hybrid on the book’s cover – an image of either pain or ultimate joy? Depending on the direction of flight, or, as here, hop or hope…

  6. A Little Light Relief by Zoe Gilbert
    “Why did TVs look blue from the street?”
    Here the flash of fiction from that blue light to the yellow of street lamps become beacons of other homes wherein some of us live without the rest of us knowing. A sparkling gem of a fiction with so many nice slants and facets promising recurrence or apportionable eternity – and making trivial worries as magnified by the lens of our minds become thankfully trivial worries again. Good old Frank.

    PS: Climbing as a means of soaring…. Light as flight… A part of eternity is the same as eternity itself…

  7. Saving the Planet by Juliet Boyd
    “…dappled with glimpses of blue sky; a microclimate of her very own…”
    A thought-provoking Glimpse Fiction of Green ethics as a worm ouroboros… Frank’s own microclimate earlier was a street lamp, Clara’s, here, a balcony, each a step rather than a self-dramatised soaring towards – what shall we call it? – towards either nirvana or oblivion each of which can work equally well by lifting the burden of yourself from yourself as well as from others who remain with one less human being to be fed by scarce resources … But one less also to dredge the rivers? Frank’s frogs destroying each other’s spawn, or Clara’s plants a bit like Thompson’s Squailthronks that turn around to become those that care for them… (cf also ‘The Friend’ by Tammy O’Malley.)

  8. image

    Souvenirs from Sanctuary Street by Gary Budgen
    “…Captain Tomorrow whooshing over wartime London with its blimps and searchlights.”
    Another new day in this review. On my regular morning constitutional today, I happened to take the above photo (on the seaside pier near where I live) before I had read this story, and it seems ideally suited to accompany it. I have come across this author’s fiction before, I’m sure. Reviewed it, too. Once you have read this story, I’m sure you will agree it is an important one, important in itself and also important as part of the gestalt of this Journal’s fiction and poetry. Although its genius loci represents more of an industrial town, one with an abandoned film studio and a bereft housing estate, the types of shops, a Punch & Judy show, a travelling salesman selling bathroom stuff etc. also make it feel like a seaside resort ambiance. It is indeed intensely atmospheric, telling of a well-characterised policeman, one who tries to avoid ‘fusses’. And the story has another soaring image like the book’s cover … Soaring towards dreams, as many people do, especially the people here, soaring toward dreams, too, from an old-fashioned paper comic – along with a cyborg-like comic character, also tellingly along with the policeman’s later poignant change of costume. All has a remarkably haunting deadpan, even dead-end, splendour, if that is not a contradiction in terms. I wonder if these characters, policeman, costume shop proprietor and wildly intent children will ever reach Sim’s earlier version of God’s Heaven and be similarly judged…
    (Loved the touch of the ‘half of Mackeson’.)


  9. The God Panel by Richard Farren Barber
    “…there were no blue trees or green skies.”
    And from that earlier yearning towards dreams, soaring towards God…A quirky, puckish portrait of Arthur, trammelled by his IT employment masters, feistily experimenting with time travel amid considerations of chaos theory and of the infinite possible Arthurs in an infinite number of realities featuring a sequence of numbers to a potential Nth degree… and this is highly significant to the rest of the book’s conundrum of ‘apportionable eternity’ thread that I earlier identified as well as to the cover’s soaring leap, that ultimate leap into the unknown, here into the highly effective, highly poignant darkness: risking the eventual loss of having regained the love of one’s life who died in such tragic circumstances – arguably with ‘panel’ being a mix of ‘leap’ and ‘n’ to that Nth degree.
    A wonderful coda to this book’s fiction and poetry.


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