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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

jean ray: malpertuis

image via sospechososcinefagos
The garden of decaying books of the last post also popped up on Writers No One Reads, the newish tumblr (I'm going back and forth as I catch up on posts here, so bear with me please) by 50 Watts, also known as A Journey Around My Skull, or Will Schofield, a longtime flickr favourite. Among the (fairly) recent elusive literary reminders and temptations to empty the purse in pursuit of was Malpertuis by Jean Ray, here pictured in a particularly "want" edition. Malpertuis is a haunted house tale by the "Belgian Poe" that, as the Modern Word piece puts it, throws everything into the labyrinthine plot - or pot. So there's the gothic, the carnivalesque, the surreal, modernism, though I like the description of it best as: "gloomy and giddy". That's a first for fantasy-horror, but it works, especially if you also watch the 1971 film adaptation with Orson Welles and Susan Hampshire.

the garden of decaying books

picture via De Zeen magazine

In the garden of decaying books in Quebec, around 40,000 books have been quietly rotting to become part of the forest over the past couple of years - originally an installation for the International Festival des Jardins de Metis, now helped by the addition of mushrooms and moss. "Culture is fading back into nature" say Thilo Folkerts (architect) and Rodney LaTourelle (artist) behind the project. It's like one of those fantasy images of some character reading a book in a forest who becomes so absorbed for so long they become part of the forest, except here it's the books dissolving into the landscape. Which somehow makes it ok. At least it's not like words turning to dust.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

echoes: the difference between the uncanny and horror in fiction

"the important thing to me in a so-called weird tale is an impenetrable mystery that generates the actions and manifestations in a narrative. A good example is Lovecraft’s favorite weird story “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood.” There’s nothing in the willows themselves that is responsible for the phenomena that menace the two men who stop on an island while boating down the Danube. The willows are only a symbol of some invisible, unknowable force that means no good to those who are unfortunate enough to be caught by bad weather in this atmospheric locale ... With horror stories, it’s the exact opposite: there must be a “legend” for the horrific goings-on and this legend must be revealed in the story or movie, even if the explanation is rather vague."

from an interview with Thomas Ligotti at Weird Fiction Review

sometimes my life is so eerie ...

the echo tunnel, kelvingrove park, glasgow
It's not really. My life. Eerie. Well, mostly. Hello then, again. Has it been six months already? Let's just say I was lost in that other place and it took a while to find the way back. So, let's get on with it.