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Thursday, 29 August 2019

...a moon-draggingly good work of fantasy worldbuilding...

Parceled into six sections comprising 67 brief, loosely connected vignettes, the contents of this volume from Australian author van Rijswijk (The World as a Clockface) form a colorful mosaic about the residents of the walled city of Luckycola, in the imaginary land of Incognita. Luckycola is home to a motley cast of characters who go about their episodic adventures, including Martina Waldesmuller, who’s incarcerated in Godown Prison; Martina’s dolly-clutching baby sister, Honeysuckle Rose; and Hadji, the local storyteller and mythmaker. Van Rijswijk imparts a fantastic quality to characters and their lives by elaborating the peculiar circumstances under which they live—for example, most of the city’s orphans are undernourished because “the country’s milk supply was diverted to the casein factory where it was used to form outer shells of lightweight pocket-grenades.” Her incantatory prose style and meticulous eye for gritty detail further amplify the strangeness of her setting, as when she writes, “In the villages, there were water-buffalo calves with ribs like corrugated iron, and there were unfed cats, and there were hens squatting in the shade cast by broken stone urns.” The author adds, “It was even said that a good storyteller could drag the full moon with the seductiveness of his tongue.” This is a moon-draggingly good work of fantasy worldbuilding. (July) 

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Bulls, Alhambra, Grenada, evokes..Carol Patterson on House of the Flight-helpers...

Bulls, Alhambra, Grenada, evokes
for me the magical folktale nature of the beautiful and original series of stories and characters so grounded in the apocalyptic nature of Late Capitalism, with saviour from the birds that is Philomena van Rijswijk's wonderful opus House of the Flight Helpers. Do read it, not as a conventionally structured novel, but almost circular: as soon as I finished it I wanted to start again, savouring so much about it. It is also a beautifully produced book from Tartarus Press and with Ann Morgan, I believe it should win the Booker for its profound originality - it's no-one's but her own -and so beautifully crafted..

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

"From the tide pool to the stars"...-John Steinbeck

Perhaps this is the same narrowing we observe in relation to ourselves and the tide pool—a man looking at reality brings his own limitations to the world. If he has strength and energy of mind the tide pool stretches both ways, digs back to electrons and leaps space into the universe and fights out of the moment into non-conceptual time. Then ecology has a synonym which is ALL.

Tide Pool by Andrew Futrell

Philosophy of the Beach: Beyond the Because, John Seinbeck

“The lies we tell about our duty and our purposes, the meaningless words of science and philosophy, are walls that topple before a bewildered little ‘why’.”
– Sea of Cortez, p.171

John Steinbeck, an early ecologist...

“Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things—plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”

– Sea of Cortez, p.178

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Carol Patterson responds to "House of the Flight-helpers"...

Reading the House of the Flight Helpers, by Philomena van Rijswijk an amazing, original, beautifully written post apocalyptic novel, request from your library, or buy it, Philomena is another great Tasmanian writer who needs support from you, the readers.

* Carol Patterson lives in South Arm, a serene coastal hamlet south-east of Hobart, Tasmania. Her arresting style infuses her short stories with fresh, vibrant life. She explores the crucial points in people's lives when change takes place. Her post-graduate degree in Geography and Environmental Studies gained from the University of Tasmania, allows her to see the world from an original perspective, which further enriches her stories.

Anne Morgan responds to "House of the Flight-helpers"...

Reading Philomena van Rijswijk's House of the Flight Keepers. What an original, compelling, strange, satirical collection of amazements! Pure genius. My pick for the Man Booker prize, for what it's worth. And the physical book is gorgeous too. Thick paper, with its own ribbon marker.

* Anne Morgan is a full-time writer who lives on Bruny Island, Tasmania. She has published eight children’s books and one full-length volume of poetry. 
Anne has a PhD in Writing, for which she won a university medal, and a Master of Education Degree. She has worked as a journalist, public sector administrator, teacher and professional actor.