CONTINUATION from HERE of my gestalt real-time review of VALIANT RAZALIA by Michael Wyndham Thomas (who first told me of the Yieldingtree) – continued in the comment stream below:
Pages 200 & 201
“Look, love, those sprinklers are on special offer. They’ll be gone if we don’t shift. Now, come on.”
Pages 201 – 211
I am a bit lost myself now, if not LOST, other than possibly that we now know Keith is an archetypal WHITE VAN MAN! So, meantime, I hope the head-lease Creator or Maker and his publisher forgive me quoting an exquisite passage, longer than my usual quotes from this book (spoken by Gregory the Scribe):
“‘We didn’t make up those stories. They were over and around us, always. Brushing past us, leaving our hair in need of a comb. All we did was take our nets and … no, all we did was take our handsome cuts of board, one in either hand, and couple their edges with binding and’ — he slammed his hands shut. ‘And every time you or anyone pleased the Mercury Guild by opening them, out the stories flew. Fly. Still. Into the eternal mind.'”
Pages 211 – 221
“If he’d first known Razalia as a little side-show in a comic annual, what was to stop other creations from pushing into its white spaces? Was this Alice’s rabbit, trying to cry I’m late! I’m late between mouthfuls of nothing?”
This is a transcendent scene where Keith enters the white upon his archetypal but ever-extending handyman’s ladder – as he would – and it is gorgeously written, and I feel I ought to have read it with Glass’s Satyagraha or Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande playing in the background.
Pages 221 – 225
…except Keith is singing Buddy Holly songs et al! There seems to be some forgiving spirit related to his descent through the white, as figures come and go in it like memories or futures. And there was some earlier talk in this book of a Festival. Many propheticks (Blakean or otherwise) end with a festival, like JC Powys’ The Glastonbury Romance or AS Byatt’s The Virgin in the Garden and in music Rutland Boughton or Richard Wagner…
I wonder if this book is to end with a festival. A festival of forgiveness or yielding?
“Hunching into the ladder, he looked down.”
Pages 225 – 229
A new morning. A future ending?
“Dreest, she saw, was gripping the top of the ladder with some determination.”
As Keith descends in the white, intent on mending something at least, Mog receives a mobile message from South Staffordshire that she ‘s half-forgotten from where she is now half-remembered, almost as if she is a new character (soon to have a new name?) emerging from everyone’s backstory: nemonymity – or is the encroaching white just a predictable metaphor for retrocausal Alzheimers, something set in motion, seeded way back, or seeded by SF in the future? Anyone reading this book along with me tell me?
Pages 229 – 238
I am not going to divulge anything else about Keith’s descent (other than the tree and its prop-roots) nor what he finds for fear of spoilers and those reading the book alongside me will be there already, no doubt. Suffice to say, the prose has visionary power, inscrutably so. But I am, during the reading journey itself, naturally for me intrigued by this report of what the Carolla-who-is-not had earlier said : “…she’d spoken low about scales attached to some über-monster which lay restless and splenetic at Razalia’s core,…”
Pages 238 – 260
“So Dreest and his dramatic metalwork meant nothing.”
This is aching stuff, uplifting, too. Author or meta-Author or narrative point of view meets parts of the Proustian self, none of them really knowing they thus belong (cf that memorable social occasion on being islanded by family ‘loved ones’). It treats, inter alia, res alia, the pecking-order of narrations in fiction or comic-strips, and the residual homes or homing journeys or places of rest between each level for authors, sub-authors, readers, characters, a strobing or ribboning eschatology of creation, non-creation, mis-creation, memory, hope, distress at death’s encroachment (the white?), truth, fiction, random or synchronised.
All skilfully, sensitively, proto-absurdly backdropped with the rules-of-engagement of many human frailties or fallibilities, including that of ancient marriages… (Please excuse the length of this truly exquisite quoted passage)
“He [George] lived by fantasy, he spent his days trading in never-nevers, quirks, subversions of the normal. Common sense always seemed to him like a huge riot shield, pushing him back, back, ever back into a place where he felt elfin and powerless. Over the years, he’d coped with Edna’s advancing shield, understanding — usually after the event — why she had to drag it out and press it hard against his being. Most times, in manner if not in word, he’d been obliged to thank her for her interventions.”
Pages 260 – 270
Language as “a row of metalled candles which the white was going mad to spark.” I ask?
Apocalyptic, Wagnerian or Blakean, or simply my childhood’s Saturday Morning Pictures come alive on Sunday?
I now approach the book’s 30 page EPILOGUE…
“Then, un-Dreest-like, he whooped.” The runt!
Pages 270 – 300
”It was a queer old mixture of apology, vision and resolve.”
I sense this my review, if not the book it’s been reviewing, is coming to its own ‘dying fall’ or chaconne – and I will not divulge whether or not this EPILOGUE is apocryphal, whether a Pilgrim’s Progress or Regress, whether white is black or black is white, whether VR stands for Valiant Razalia or Virtual Reality, whether that festival I predicted did eventually provide the climax of the book, or whether indeed I have actually read this EPILOGUE at all, for fear of it being a real spoiler even for one like me reading it in the correct order of the book without prior hints as to its content.
Just remember that to know someone you need more than a screen with electronics, more even than the provenance or providence of ”a parchment retrieved from a crumbling box”. To know this book as a real book with constituent characters or personalities, you need to know it like being face to face with it, talking to you, you talking to it (as in this review), its interacting with many readers hopefully, issuing its hopes and doubts, its visions of the comic and the cosmic, Marriage and Family, Heaven and Hell – and the path to the ultimate core of self, that yielding tree of existence. Which you must. Which you will if you do.
And we still love Donna, however the book ends.
The parts of this review:
5. https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/a-yieldingtree/ (this one)
”The hauling business wasn’t necessary,…”
Posted today on my main ‘real books rock’ and ‘GRTR’ blogs:
A NEW KIND OF WHITE
Below are two short quotes from my latest real-time review – a review that turned out to be an interaction with those who came alive for me from inside the covers of the two books with the overall title of VALIANT RAZALIA as written by Michael Wyndham Thomas (‘The Mercury Annual’ (2009) and ‘Pilgrims at the White Horizon’ (2013) published by Theaker’s).
‘Also, yesterday, on the strength of these two books, I placed Michael Wyndham Thomas on my on-line list of all time favourite fiction writers.’
‘Apocalyptic […] or simply my childhood’s Saturday Morning Pictures come alive on Sunday?’
This particular review marks completion of Volume Twelve of the hard-copy book versions of my real-time reviews as well as exactly five years of doing them. They have been fulfilling for me; I hope they have been at least fair on the readers, writers and publishers, too.
Dear Des: thank you for your painstaking evaluation of the two Razalia novels. I do appreciate it, best wishes, Michael W. Thomas.
My pleasure, Michael. As you can see I couldn’t put them down! 🙂
You are clearly busy, but any other way that you could spread the Razalian word would be very much appreciated. With best wishes, Michael.
By colander or telepathy, Dreest shall do his best! 🙂
“… the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be, and I can see it.”
— Dennis Potter (when being interviewed by Melvyn Bragg)
[[A new day. How have I missed it so far? A further serendipity of another of my reviews carried out very recently, where the scenario of VALIANT RAZALIA [The Mercury Annual/Pilgrims at the White Horizon by Michael Wyndham Thomas] can be shown as in at least vague kinship with what I see so far as the planetary and human game of ‘Chorncendantra’ in MEMBER by Michael Cisco. Whatever the case, those readers who enjoy MEMBER will enjoy VALIANT RAZALIA, I suggest. And vice versa. The books are each unique in their own ways.]]
Another mention of ‘Valiant Razalia’ at the end here; http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/dogs-with-their-eyes-shut-paul-meloy/
Publisher’s free offer: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/82824-pilgrims-at-the-white-horizon
Yet another irresistible mention of Valiant Razalia in my review here: http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/the-galaxy-club-brendan-connell/#comment-2028
Another mention of Valiant Razalia here: http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/todays-found-art-safe-keeps-and-a-not-so-safe-keep-for-dholes-night-gaunts-c/
These novels now cross-referenced here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/the-rift-nina-allan/#comment-10201
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