The WEIRD (32)

“…evil seemed to bubble up from the rusty red earth like a black combustible compound of ancient things long dead. […] …my skull and brains went floating off into the sky, white dandelion fluff, a cloud of fairy parasols.” – quoted from the Chabon story below.

 Real-Time Review continued from HERE.

The WEIRD: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
Edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
First published in Great Britain 2011 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.

30/11/11 – three hours later

The God of Dark Laughter – by Michael Chabon

“‘Pretty heavy reading for a clown,’ Ganz said.”

Sherlock Holmes looked at the dead body and deduced from the large feet that it may have been a clown.  That was before he saw the funny hat and false nose. Nothing to do with this story, but it went through my mind. This is a genuine masterpiece that I have not encountered before. This book has made me think that I am not as well read as I thought I was! A real education.  And the editors are much younger than me!  This story is a hilarious cosmic game of silently self-conscious belly-laughs and stridently shrieking behind-the-hand sniggers. With many echoes of running themes in this book as well as ‘uvavu’ and ‘eranu’ from ‘Shooting Stars’, plus the arcane works of von Junzt and a reference to the simian murderer from Poe. It starts with the dead body of a ‘clown’ discovered (murdered and flayed like an advance autopsy, by the sound of it, as perpetrated by a coulrophobic?)  just inside the border of the district of the attorney protagonist (someone who eschews anything but Occam’s Razor even (or especially?) when that ‘anything’ concerns the rarefied theosophical beliefs of his late mother). There is, here, a down-to-earth (or inner earth) ‘unbearable lightness of being’ and ‘a book of laughter and forgetting’. “Could the dead clown have been killed by the pet…” The baboon that seems only one step down the ladder of evolution from this book’s erstwhile boy-in-the-tree or ‘feral boy’, and ‘Ye-Hehists’ from Swift? Blood and sea-water smells deemed similar. The Dove from Above. “Urartu’,  This all has a personal message to me. Occam’s Razor is better than any complex scrying of things such as poring over arcane von Juntzisms or as what I am gauchely anatomising like a literary autopsy with my real-time reviewing. Yet, scryably rich layers of laughter (ranging from sophisticated to slapstick) are better than no laughter at all. The first story I’ve ever found to be didactic without being didactic at all.

Continued as The WEIRD (33) page HERE.

Index of this whole real-time review HERE.


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