Part Two of my review of ‘These Long Teeth of the Night’ as continued from here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/06/01/these-long-teeth-of-the-night-alexander-zelenyj/
FOURTH HORSEMEN PRESS 2022
My previous reviews of Alexander Zelenyj: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/alexander-zelenyj/
When I read this publication, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…
32 responses to “Alexander Zelenyj”
Dying Days of Treasure Spiders Everywhere
“His grandfather always sounded as if he were reciting poetry from books, which always calmed the boy when he was upset about something in the same way that reading books made him feel better, too.”
And this whole utterly rhapsodic story in this thus healing book should be heard recited, I feel. The immense yellow of the sun spider and other spiders in the boy’s jar, as he sits in the too-bright smoggy heat and poverty and possibly impending doom of the city yet with ‘sun-fired trees’, but not now a conflagration but a renewal of what I called earlier Bowen’s Apple Tree Syndrome (“tiny crab apples like sapphires”), this time Bradbury as well as Rasnic Tem.
“…for your sake remember it well: there will never be days like these again, no matter their good or bad ingredients.”
All stemming from what the boy now does with his jar and its contents, and then the sudden crack in the earth between him and his grandfather and the summoning of dead people, including a possible renewal of his grandmother whom he once saw as a lifeless near-skeleton in a hospital …
“…potential for secret worlds gathering their strength beneath the streets…”
Read it all aloud and see for yourself, I say.
We Are All Lightless Inside
Below is a copy of my review (in the book’s context where it was earlier published) from here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/blacker-against-the-deep-dark-alexander-zelenyj/#comment-14806
I’ve left off the title I gave it at that time, as it contained a typo, for which I now apologise.
“, and those bags under your eyes add some years to the picture.”
“…marked with recurring peaks of hopefulness and valleys of despair.”
This book’s Ebon Vales. Piques and Veils, too, as another ultra-powerful Zelenyj story meets my scrying eyes, a story that I never dreamt one day I might read, because I knew not of it. Thanks to this book, I do now. Never too late. This cosmic battle amid death and rebirth, a battle against DEE Disease by heraldic humanity, as part of some half-known underground conspiracy, with phantom or metal limbs that humans endure as part of the attrition, with spirituality not dissimilar to that of Christianity’s Holy Trinity, yet with human accoutrements such as sex and stoicism: a Gestalt battle against cancers (and some unforgettable Zelenyj descriptions to trap them in your mind) here focussed down to the will power of one man and his battle, one day, with a gargantuan, for me, Azathothian, cancer, amid the backstory of his mother…and later, the woman he ungently treated in lust earlier becomes the new knight with her own ungentle, yet chivalrous charge against the enemy, I infer. However ‘enemy’ is defined or embodied within?
Elopers To Sirius
“…a thick and intoxicating brew of banana and elephant grass and wildflowers that seemed to have seeped into the bamboo walls surrounding them,…”
It is easy to be judge-mental about behaviours and who is watching them, and who is telling us about them (an invisible beneficent power as authorial God or a cheap reporter with a sneak camera?)…. But when, whatever the nature of the information source, it is bound away somewhere else, do we believe the rest of the ‘facts’ that are laid in front of us at the end? And how do those beliefs prevail, when this story is running with the staggeringly loud ticks of a clock or when wielding a flag with a Venn diagram of two gold circles or showing us stars fallen to Earth like lilies or like silver eggs to transport away human refugees or asylum seekers (even in 2014 when this work, that may be more fact than fiction, was published, but I have not cheatingly e-loped, as a version myself of old man Michael Boreal, to the Internet to find out, as that would spoil everything) — refugees from a dying world to Rwanda (see UK news today) or a cultish off-world diaspora towards a paradise with an even bigger God called Sirius…? Whatever the case, following a young brother and sister as we do, who some would say, based on rumoured evidence by the intruding reporter, are acting incestuously, perhaps somehow idyllically becoming twin lovers, fleeing from a city in Canada to a Pacific Island for something that is a spiritual journey or a cultish exploitation of them, and all this is in itself, by dint of creative doubts, spiritual — as we soak into us the fulsome atmosphere of the island and the Midsommar sermon by Boreal, a fact as told by someone who didn’t know who Boreal was with Boreal’s own intruder loudly ticking by within him, in some hopeful Zeno’s Paradox of Eternity or Null Immortalis that may actually work for me on Sirius … Big Dog, Big God, Big Dog, Big God…
“…the cancer blackening […] and gnawing the life from him each day passing, hoping, this man, to beat his untimely murderer;”
The Prison Hulk
“Poverty plagues our dear girl England these days. So many of her children penniless for years, it seems. […] … our dear girl ridding her shores of these criminals, sailing them away like waste removals…”
This is a prophecy, but who is the prophet – my companion mad pirate on the hulk called Justicia or myself on a hulk called Earth? “…and maybe it is I who is the prophet among us.” Or the author in 2006 who has made me ask such questions today by means of this true stylistic horror-apotheosis of — and apocalypse in — his own writing, depicting pre-Dickensian or Dickensian prison hulks on the Thames, evolving towards — mark my words, this is praise from me indeed! — an outcome that even outdoes ‘Darkness’ by Lord Byron! Read both and see.
“Or maybe our own fiery meteor awaits us yet, and we’ll burn this night too. Because we the sullied might no longer belong here in a new, cleansed world.”
With elements of Lovecraft and Blake. A true masterpiece of prophecy and doom and the gestalt self of selves amid quiet release and hopeful salvage beneath the ‘nervous eyes of stars’ above and the sky of fire we saw through the spyholes or remaining portholes of this hulk whereby we are still increasingly incarcerated, even today, upon uncharted waters. Dear girl, this be an ‘utterly beautiful destruction.’
“We are one among all this refuse and degradation.”
The next story I once reviewed as follows, in its then context…..
LOVE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
“Some call for a great mass penitence, and prophecy salvation for those worthy, the humbled and virtuous and pure of heart. Others wait for doom.”
In a seemingly Fortean edition of Time magazine held by “Henry honey”, along with more fantastical space stories more suiting for his age, one might think. It is the perfect coda to this lovecraft of stories in gestalt, as new Poems of Innocence and Experience. Things discovered while reading them are akin to the discoveries in the Time article … and his young sister – with whom he is playing in the garden sporadically overseen by an anxious mother – the sister who imagines the potato bugs in her hand love each other. Each for each. Vice and virtue, “violent crime” now reducing as a result of such discoveries, a Divine-Light Anomaly, a whale on the moon, Swiftian giants found under the ground in Peru. And talking about Swift, it stirs me to think that this whole book is akin to his Modest Proposal. And indeed this is the Modest Proposal for our times amid Time’s mention of ‘vastness of unknowable mystery’. This book is a sheer experience. A book wherein the word ‘gargantuan’ is used more times than you can count. And, sincerely, a book by a writer to add to the inner canon of fiction writers I watch. A book that can be “defined as being pre- or post-Discovery.”
I happened to review Jonathan Swift yesterday: https://elizabethbowensite.wordpress.com/2022/06/12/jonathan-swift-directions-to-the-footman/
Your Bone Spider Will Find You
“There, in the heap of rock and wood. In with the bones, those pale sticks rising from the debris in the centre. It’s moving there.”
This spinneret of a city threnody is beyond quintessentially Ligottian, yet somehow with hope within it, as random structures in derelict warehouses emerge, in particular a huge stilted spider or a hobo’s hand, and we feel over-subsumed by the smog and decay and despair as a man stops a woman cutting the throat of a kitten perhaps through her despair that young pretty things should have been born thus to suffer in this world, and indeed she herself is plain and boyish with acne, hence her survival? Although a past rape is remembered. The overwhelming inscrutability of this work and its machinations of word and, for me, of spider’s hinged legs or a man’s fingers are transcended at the end by a breathing in and out of hope as well as despair, an intake and outtake of healing or hurting myself and thus then healing or hurting with my breath whatever is outside of me. Venting as vengeance or reprieve. A reader talking into and from the words he reads.
Your bone spider will indeed find you!—
An Angela Named Vengeance
“Looking up at her from where his chin nearly grazed her bedroom carpet, he grinned his yellow grin.”
This is where that earlier vengeance and reprieve above becomes vengeance and reprisal, reprised open with the biggest concupiscent cock imaginable, herself as herself with breasts but foully rent open by her own cock. And that is not even half of it! This is fell and disgusting and is slipped, without warning, into the reading matter of readers who deserve to have their guilt exposed to themselves, just as Angela sent out photographs of it happening to herself, sending them to a befouling man who had betrayed her. Sorry to be crude, but one needs to try to fight crude with crude. And this is utterly crude and at least part of me, I admit, felt duly and deservedly befouled… And at least you have been warned, should you be harbouring, with strait-laced or prudish denial, such potential vulnerabilities of guilt as gestalt of being a part of it all.
Through Fogs Deep And Fires Long
“Amorphous and ethereal, obeying a sensual, sentient choreography as they mimicked the writhing figures entangled beneath them.”
When attritional literature involving the reader in cruelly as well as lovingly self-destructive sex, however cathartically suited the couple are to each other within the daily careers they follow outside such a relationship, a shocking literature about which one feels it a serious duty to warn potential readers in any review, yes, when such literature becomes in itself a reward of a paradise one has ever sought from the constrictive fog around one’s bubble, instead of its overt reprisal of self-destruction, then one simply knows that one has met a text written with its own amorphous ethereal writhers — whether a virtual text, even with a watermark, or a sleek and hefty book or loose paper files with handwritten letters that people used to write to each other and some still do write such letters in rebellion against virtual communications — becoming a text that is the monster itself rather than the fictional monstrousness it is about. Didactic direct into the veins.
I once edited an anthology with the overall title ‘Horror Without Victims’ and this story, whatever the warnings against doing so, may have found a place there, being not only a story about a dual Frankenstein monster of lust but also a story as a textual entity, a noumenonymous thing-in-itself as the monster that visits the reader for real from within the ‘sentient choreography’ of words. A story that — whether on page or screen — is impermeable to its own engulfing fire, a tower block burning up all the neighbours without, hopefully, touching anyone at all. But today, for me, the word ‘gestalt’ perhaps takes on a wider meaning. Perhaps the writing triggers readers to mimic writhers, changes them into writing entities who twist themselves into recommending this substantive work they think they wrote themselves like letters or epistles to apostles, thus recommending it to other readers when they should really have warned them not to read it at all! Too late for me to judge.
Above review also shown here: https://howivi.wordpress.com/alexander-zelenyj/
A Valley For Dorothy
“I need you to dig me a hole, but not like any of the usual holes. This hole’s gotta be deep and deep, and deeper than any hole ever dug,…”
And this story is that very hole, the vilest nest in the baddest of badlands. Read it and dare see for yourself, but it would be churlish of me to reveal whether this story allows you to get out of that hole once you are in it. Still, how can I say, anyway? — as I am still stuck in the previous story warning others not to read it because the next one to which it leads like an inevitable segue is likely to be even badder. Its ominous line of Red Indians on the horizon, even they are scared, it seems. Lucky, therefore, that I am never to empathise with Harry in this story, stuck in the previous one as I am — although I do have my own hot nights of broken sleep like him…. Yet, as ‘Guardian Angel or Angel of Vengeance’, part of me that is you must somehow stay with this book till its seemingly ever-distant end, I guess.
From yesterday, another serial digger of holes has now haunted this work, one who had had at least one daughter! — https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/06/16/james-hogg-john-gray-o-middleholm/
In many ways an astounding chance mutual-synergy!
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Another Light Called 1-47
“Some called for doom soon to fall from the heavens while others prayed for salvation. But neither doom nor salvation arrived, only the same day-to-day joys and sadness as always.”
The pulsing polarised dark and light emotions as lent by a harmonic Astrology of numbered starships in variable cosmic transits of coming and going in alternately depressing and inspiring visits from ‘as above’ to ‘so below’, a cause-and-effect-by-synchronicity (if that is not a paradox of Zeno’s ever-slowly passing time) … all as seen though the “the nascent, strange pull” of young love in a woman and man, and the self-harming of the woman after that man dies of a sudden heart attack, then in older age the ‘pulsing’ of her own heart, in an upward trend lent by a new arrival of a starship with its own accompanying patterned stars ‘pulsing, pulsing, as if eager to transmit…’
Like the slow-motion strobing that is faster in other viewpoints, I wonder — a pulsing from baddest bad via ‘fearful hope’ towards an uplifted heart in the stories that come and go within this inspiring book’s mandala…
[What Luke 1-47 means: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/luke-1-47, as counterpoint to the many passages about ‘strobe-histories’ in Nemonymous Night? ]
Above individual review is also published here: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/alexander-zelenyj/
The Homes We Deserve
“They were only men, after all, trying to walk through a world that gave birth to calamities large enough to blot out the sun and moon.”
I have a memory of this story now revived by its image of a mushroom cloud from an unknown Pacific Island that the soldiers see from a jungle elsewhere, having fought and defeated ‘Japs’, but they also spilled intestines themselves, but two survivors among these Canadian soldiers allow the one ‘Jap’ survivor to escape having seen this direction-confused and inexplicable cloud — and the staggering vision which they afterwards experience reaching into the sky from the jungle with the perfect upright precision of right-angle, with no confusion other than awe, I will leave you to discover, otherwise you may be spoilt an effect worth experiencing in this day and age much later, a time that so easily could have gone off in a different direction, I guess.
And strangely this resonates obliquely as well as powerfully with THIS old and rare Captain Marryat story that I had never read before, but I somehow read it for the first time half an hour before re-reading this Zelenyj. My memory would not otherwise have picked it up as a mutual-synergy.
My previous review of the ‘Test-Tube Family’ chapbook that contained the above Zelenyj work is somehow appropriately mis-linked HERE indirectly to another link that contains my earlier comments upon it!
See “Maybe we’re like a reminder of how the world is” below…
The next story I reviewed in the past, as follows…
“I’m tired and I want to rest; I want to get out of this and go lie down somewhere, off where it’s dark and no one speaks. Forever.”
― Philip K. Dick, Dr. Bloodmoney
THE BLOODMILK PEOPLE
“Maybe we’re like a reminder of how the world is.”
That we all bleed, whether metaphorically or literally. People sometimes say I often have strange relationships with the fictions I somehow choose to read and then feel forced to review. Sometimes fictions choose me, I guess. This one in a bookshop (disturbing to those who really have expelled blood in toilets or suffered other extramenstrual curses) has the strangest relationship yet between me and any fiction, expelling more than just humanity’s overload of bleeding but more an ironic recognition that Anti-Natalism itself is a birth of something living, something hopeful? Forever is perhaps never forever. The test tube family or a chivalrous battle against cancer, notwithstanding.
Let the Firefly Men Remind You
“A constant, pounding pulse of anxiousness in my temples all day…”
A summer remembered amid many more forgettable endless summers at Natalie’s farmhouse amid intense intoxication and Black Sabbath music under the stars, where each man and woman became the perfect love machine unlike the cassette that grinds away at the end, a summer where Midsommar took a backseat in the future as engendered by this 2009 visionary story, and where Natalie (the narrator’s telepathic ‘twin’ who, while with her chosen man, ‘throws’ kisses to the narrator, a narrator with her chosen man about whom she tells us “I liked his eyes […] always looking inwards at himself, as if he were dreaming about himself,…”) yes, this Natalie was hog-roasted with her man, while the real hog Neato-O and the narrator remained intact.
A tale like a congealed fiery clot of snakes. A horizon on fire, yet a wondrous experience of free love like animals. And so I now wish to enter their story myself, ostensibly to punish them (as at least part of me surely wishes to punish them for their selfish hedonism), and to now prevent them reaching some yearned-for epiphany in the stars. Yet I dream that they shall win, as I am sure to be subsumed myself, too, within the resistless story. Subsumed by its eponymous reminder. And “…when the v of crows flew into view and coincidentally crossed the path of another…”
“At the point where two prayers cross.” (A Brief Visit to Bonnyville)
Cross-referenced with THE HORLA by Maupassant here later the same day: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/04/28/that-glimpse-of-truth/#comment-24862
The next story I reviewed in the past, as follows… (I re-read this review AFTER writing the previous review above!)
THIS LUSTFUL EARTH
“It was only another moment of liberty indulged in a world of rampant insane freedoms.”
A shockingly horrific synergy between a mutant Mount Olympus-like coalition (God and the Devil in our terminology) and a free-will or fate of mankind upon which the coalition gloats in a mix of the same free will and fate. You hopefully still have the free will not to read this story about certain elements of history and human cruelty, but if you are of a nervous disposition, or not ready for learning such things, and are otherwise fated to read it, you are here warned not to do so by someone who has read it — even if any reader arguably has their own control (a personal Mount Olympus?) over whatever or whomsoever is in it.
The Demon Takeover of Windsor, Ontario
“…wide-eyed and blubbering something about seeing a burning man in a field. That’s all she’s said about it, but that black stare tells me there’s more.”
This story simply is. It is a beautiful status quo, with scurrying mice and dying fireflies, and just Kit Kat bars for temporary sustenance, after that initial reported sighting in a field by a girl who enters your convenience store when you are on night shift, and other things reported by your beloved mother on the phone to you, speaking of something insidious impending in the very lights around you. A story from a magazine on the rack nearby that used to smell good, it seems when you lift the pages to your nose. Well, not exactly. The reader fumbles, too, unable to shed their own version of light on every nuance. You know the story is cinematic but how can a cinema show it without the desire or possibility of lights? Lights you only recognise as lights when they go absent. Cloudless night sky without stars. Suspense like a scent or hum, gentle against what life had already brought you to read earlier in this book, a coda, a sense of watching out for something, comforted by the normalcy of the store shelves that shelter you. The readers filling the corners with their extras, points you forgot to tell us.. That impending glimpse of truth.
“I don’t want to put the light on ever again.”
“…but that black stare tells me there’s more.”
Black stare, or black star?
“You want to—you have to read it,”
Poppy, The Girl Of My Dreams, And The Alien Invasion I can Detect Like Radar Through my Braces
Like radar, or like reader?
A perfect coda to the above coda, but if so what can come next? I surely now cannot wait. Love as a milkshake of eyes or stars. A Q become a V as a dowry from a diary. Star belt or braces. To support something or nothing. The Status Q on a different roof, but under the same sky.
From the coda of a coda above paradoxically towards the symphony itself in sheer word-musical movements as ‘songs’, whereby I also looked up a word on the Internet: VOOR is a black person who looks for X person validation (usually another race) or is willing to disrespect or disregard the feelings of their own race. (Urban Dictionary)
Songs For The Lost
“his vision on the vastness”
A tale of the Colonizers and the Colonized, on the utter Rim. Varkoom are the most beautiful / most frightening winged beasts, and the one here meets its own beauty as well as its Valley amidst this book’s stars. You will be stunned by the Varkoom description here. “These things men called them.” The human beauty herself (for this particular Varkoom beast) is ironically large and pappish. But this is the stuff that dreams are made on, as we read from song to song, eventually cohering a motley group in the Valley, Valley as Peacccccce and potential paradise. Where monsters recoup their morals…. Just! And this emerging group, as gestalt. And there is “…marked a distinct ‘V’ in the dust, a single gruesome letter trembling terribly in the heat haze like an oracle”, then reaching “V. V, for Valley. V for the Valley of Green.” — “its deep, green valley and impossible supply of contentment. Paradise, in the wildness of the Big Black’s nethermost reaches.” — “Hamisamrah and the caves of peace.” Probably the most perfect elbow-trigger in literature that I have ever encountered so far (“Harry Dalmar laid a tentative step forward along the path but Big Darla stopped him with a hand on his elbow”) only slightly falters as Harry, having shed one snakeskin, relapses for a nonce, then regroups, I sense. Cohering until gestalt, as “tenuous union” is born from violence. “A fat girl, a rapist, a winged demon or angel, and a father and son, all with aching thoughts and breaking hearts, stepping into the path together…” — “They stood in stunned silence, puzzle pieces baking in the air, confused as to how to arrange themselves for answers, perhaps only dimly aware that their tenuous union may have been clue enough.” Please forgive me over-quoting those satisfying definitions of forming gestalt. But I have left the most powerful passages for you to read as First Experience! From cannibalism of human babies to the final catharsis of tenuous union, from speck to sublime effulgence, from extreme guilt to difficult redemption, from hate to impending forgiveness, even love… the prose lifts us to levels even beyond those with which we have been tutored earlier from this shocking and purging book, a book that needs to be shelved not only in convenience stores but also in university libraries. Amid the “billion stars”, too, to watermark the soul.
I had not read the final work above before today, and a few years ago I reviewed BLACKER AGAINST THE DEEP DARK here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/blacker-against-the-deep-dark-alexander-zelenyj/, where I seem somehow to have identified the V emblem which is now even more accentuated above and called an oracle!
His Vision on the Vastness
I shall now read for the first time, all the non-fiction commentary in this book, which I am sure will give me further food for thought, as will hopefully the podcast interview with this author by this book’s publisher.
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“There was no moon, but the stars darted out their rays in the dark heavens. Who inhabits those worlds? What forms, what living beings, what animals are there yonder? Do those who are thinkers in those distant worlds know more than we do? What can they do more than we? What do they see which we do not? Will not one of them, some day or other, traversing space, appear on our earth…” — Guy de Maupassant (THE HORLA)
cf The name Helma-Rar in the final work above. And that of Harry Dalmar?
“grown too long in the tooth” — a phrase in ‘Queuing Behind Crazy People’ in ‘WEIRDMONGER’ book.
I have now grown long in the tooth, too. But whether TOO much so, remains to be seen!
Glad to hear from above mentioned podcast interview with the author (search ‘Fourth Horseman Press”), Alexander Zelenyj has a number of new books in the pipeline.
Cross-referenced with ‘Taking Care’ by Joy Williams: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/04/27/the-penguin-book-of-the-modern-american-short-story/#comment-24891
Cross-referenced the Deathray Bradburys here: