Goodreads Review of Martin Amis’ SUCCESS

SuccessSuccess by Martin Amis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I absolutely love Martin Amis, been a fan since I read Lionel Asbo, the only Martin Amis book I didn’t like was Night Train, a couple of books later, it’s good to see he hasn’t disappointed.

Success is a hard one to review, such mixed feelings about it, but not in a good way. I think reading Ian McEwan’s First Love, Last Rites kinda inoculated me for the subject matter in this book. Incest, and yob-phobia + class pretentiousness are a bit hard to swallow, but Martin is a skilled writer. This book reads well, its narrative style, the juxtaposition between Terrence and Gregory’s POVs of similar/related experiences gives the novel quite some depth.

It’s not as awe-inspiring as say Rachel Papers or Money, but a good read nonetheless.

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Review of CAGES by Dave Mckean

CagesCages by Dave McKean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“I was thinking that, despite much evidence to the contrary how could anyone not realise that this is just the best of all possible worlds.”
These are the concluding words to Dave McKean’s wonderful graphic novel. It’s an impressive work of art, honest, a bit confusing and jumbled plotwise especially in the middle, but, Lo and behold does it finish with quite the bang.

Recommended for anyone looking for a multifaceted story that isnt in any way conventional, think Kabuki. Only Cages, deals with, well, cages… and how resonant its existential validations linger, how the question of God and our reduction of Him into some subjective figmented element is condensed into an understandable concept, or something like that… I don’t know, I’m rambling, existential ramblings require more mental effort than I can afford for reviews.

Read this, if not for everything I’ve written above, then for Dave’s insane artwork.

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Short Story: NOWHERE MAN

Have you ever looked at a staggering figure on a beach and seen someone so utterly alone: an anonymous man swaying to the waves with shoes slung around his neck, linen slacks rolled up to his knees, shirt unbuttoned to his navel?

Have you seen a man like that?

I have. That’s me I’ve just described – or, at least that’s what I think I look like viewed from, say, the bungalows behind the palm trees.

What am I still doing here, why am I not some place warmer, more settled? I ask myself.

It’s the off-season and the beach is dead, wrapped in a sallowness that makes you want to just give up. But this is Stone Town, there’s always something to do, even in the off-season, which this place has been in since October. Since the fire…

This short story was published in today’s Kalahari Review. Find the rest of it here:
http://www.kalaharireview.com/fictionpoetry/2015/7/24/nowhere-man.html

Poem: Better Days

I woke up in a sad airless room, 
the smell was nocturnal – –  a lover unwashed – –
eyes as rheumy as the sun was callow.

My bed,  a pallet of sisal and dried tears, 
crawled with plagues and woes
I couldn’t abhor unless utterly sallow.

I was spared,  the desolate walls tell me, 
but I can’t make escape,
my blundering he never seemed so hollow – –

The famine of better days and easier childhood, 
is an illusion us orphans of motherless bastards
harbour as poison too thin to swallow.

The wet bodies,  dead remnant eyes, bemoan
broken biers, dry incense bowls,  wickless candles – – 
God’s meagre fallow.

A bloodied sandal, clipped toenail,
pale lipstick smudged on creaky floorboard,
the tongueless robber says,  hullo.

Poem: I Long For Distress

I admit, the thorn in my
rosy bush of desires
stifles me no longer.
Its prickling, uncompromising
disassembly of nerves
is nothing but brutal coquetry

Over time, with my thresholds,
winced and climbed over,
by ladders of tolerance, intolerable —
my longing for distress
has been cultivated,
and it’s no longer just a garden.
for, comfort is like a blanket
that doesn’t cover my feet fully,
even if it did,
I wouldn’t abide it.

My better self disowns my virtues
for, my baser self brings
the kind of satisfaction
that balms the craving. in my
marrow, my maw.

I admit, that the darkness
strays not from questioning eyes —
for what can they do me?
beyond shunning me and judging themselves
So I let this near-dark fright, fragrance
the impure air of my hypocrisy

Poem: LOVE, HER LOVE.

Wow. I haven’t written any poetry for the last year or so. I was on some hopeless quest to unfind myself by delving only into prose, can’t say I’ve achieved what I set out trying to do. Don’t even know what I mean by ‘unfind’ myself. Too much Pessoa speaking? Anyway, at least I got to finish the first drafts to 4 novels, THE AWAKENING, HOUSE OF DYES, SUICIDE CLUB & APOCRYPHA. No more novels for me this year, going to polish up these four and get them published. Hooray!
Considering how I much I have abandoned other writing endeavours, poetry mostly, I’m going to focus on that a lot, this year. Screenplays too and shorter prose pieces.

This is the first poem I’ve written in eighteen months or so, it’s a bit rough, but I hope there’s still enough of the poet in me resurrected here. Please tell me what you think.

There are things fixed in this world,
that though unrooted, could never be uprooted.
Then there’s things which are wrought
by the brittle heel of old mythologies
I don’t know which part my love for her falls —
Maybe halfway in the shadows of both.
Or maybe it’s the sun casting a shadow where there’s no light
or light where there’s no shadow —
All I know is, I’m a fool caught in the eyelashes of a blind world
For, love is blind and all that.

Love is also death,
dearth to the enterprising nakedness
of my crass naivety
Love, her love, is a net that catches
the vague articulation of my flair
Her love — not our love — is beyond
the haughty fling of intellectual whimsy
to which, me and my contemporaries — if I can call them that,
indulge with contempt.

Love, her love is rain on a Sunday afternoon,
totally unexpected, but cool to the trickling drop
just chilly, but snug enough to be comfortable,
enough to want just a little more.
Love, her love, if it were a home
it would be a home built on forgiveness given
before forgiveness is required.
A communion of undreamt trespass.