‘A jabberwockian jungle of words’ – The Becoming (Anonymous), and Nicities: Aural Ardor, Pardon Me, by Elizabeth Mikesch

BECOMING_FRONT_350You open the book. You look inside its plithy flipshank creationalist monstrosia. You dismantle it, prantle it, wibberscruff it… Not getting it yet? But did you enjoy the sentence? Pity; I had fun writing it.

We are chained by Semantics. To blub means to cry. No, let’s be precise: to weep with frustration. But what if we said snottleblub or blubblesnurf? Even better? Well, fathomable at least. But how about ‘klosh’ or ‘kumtux’? Not quite so fathomable. But ah, the release from those semantic chains is like taking a shower in the bush with only the monkeys for company, or riding shotgun in a Mad Max sidecar. This is the experience of The Becoming: a landscape of unchained weirdness, a jabberwockian jungle of words that mean very little with a narrative that pushes the already edgy boundaries of steam punk writing to the edge of the cliff.

Only, beware of falling off. It is a liberating experience of pseudo-suicide… but I suspect only for the writer. The reader is left hanging off the cliff face by his or her fingertips.

NICETIES_coverCalamari Press is also known for such titles as The Night I Dropped Shakespeare on the Cat. Talking about his own work, author John Olson compared his writing experience to “the relief of the man who falls from a high cliff only to discover he’s been dreaming”. A relief indeed. Such subconscious forays take on a sordidly urban feel in Nicities. Also published by Calamari, but written by Elizabeth Mikesch, Nicities is a stream of consciousness narrative that, like a naughty child, does whatever the hell it wants. Reading it is a little like watching someone gorge themselves on chocolate, or get laid, or whatever else takes their fancy while you watch, hole-bluthered (gob-smacked) from the other side of the page. It’s exciting, in a crack-cocaine sort of way, and many of the (fathomable) descriptions in the book’s 87 pages surprise you with their ugly beauty and dead vigour. ‘The women there are spindly, thickly liquored,” writes Mikesch, ‘There are things she has to do: get home on the train to her place where the rain fell and wet her daybed’s daisied throw, the place where the kid shits.’

Any Cop?: It sort of takes your breath away, but if you don’t like the idea of showering with the monkeys, or wallowing in urban decay then you’d better stick to Jane Austen.

Lucille Turner


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