CELEBRANT by Michael Cisco — Chômu Press 2012

Real-Time Review continued from HERE


Pages 51-70

The Madrasa is a backwater and the knowledge, if any, that it imparts is not portable. It stays in the school like animals in a zoo, and the students merely come to visit the knowledge.”

scorch marks, burn marks, cold so numb it numbs itself from being felt, a filament scried from “motheaten rugs” (or a piecemeal carpet?), some tripe prose, turtle as self, Chief Rabbi – no, “chief rabbit girl“, Cunty or Kunty, ten years old for her age, but alien enough like the pigeon girls to stop tongues wagging (well I hope so for any non-deKlent reader’s sake) – a girl who, I infer, effectively fetches deKlend into the adventure of this book – or about to do so.  Kunty who is a bit like Oy from Stephen King’s mighty ‘dark tower’ series but now female instead of what Oy ever am. This is where I wear my reader’s fireguard for real – we are all in danger, I sense. Vo(us) tu – you  rather than oy? Might be better reading this as an ebook. The preamble is over. Now down to business! “There can be no mistake (deKlend thinks) I am an idiot.” (15 Aug 12 – 6.50 pm bst)

Pages 71-78

“…she is peering intently at him from a balcony, from within the image of a middle-aged woman dressed for an awards ceremony.”

There was a TV series in UK a few years ago called ‘Robot Wars’ where real invented-machine battles between various inventors were held – and memory of those might give you a good idea of the fights among this book’s stunning concept of ‘natural robots’ (not cyborgs nor purely robotic material but something I think I can understand by means of ‘Celebrant’) – here Urn versus Urchin (the latter being serendipitously mentioned by me earlier as ‘burr’) in a strikingly described symbiosis of battle ….all then paralleled with more human-like characters in seemingly role-playing symbioses of fluid gender and blood relationship (like Burn, Phryne, the pigeon girls) leading to some concept regarding an “incest vampire”. Each reader, I feel, needs to allow this vision of ‘you’ as Votu to flow over the mind: allowing it to snag like a burr as and when it desires to do so, without always understanding at first what exactly does cling on.  How dangerous that happens to be remains a moot point and any real-time review (unlike more traditional book reviews) is fluidly symbiotic, too. Trust me now. But trust me later? (16 Aug 12 – 11.20 am bst)

Pages 79-90

It may be the sky beneath the ground, but it is still the sky.”

This to quench your appetite for imagination-in-damaging-overdrive (no other book I’ve ever read from scratch is so far quite this full of promise in fulfilling that appetite) – my mention of ‘flow over the mind’ an hour or so ago is now actually evoked as some sort of tsunami of gravity and of (my concept, not necessarily the book’s) inner-earth hawling: leading to a mind-bursting self-destructive ‘gargantua’ constructed of many natural or disfigured urchin-burrs beating its metaphorical head hard against the hawling-tunnel walls – and a ‘theem’ ( a ‘colony animal’ ) that, as if teeming with the book’s saccreting themes, its intercalating authorless themes, gives the total vision of themes (of the ‘me’s) – or the leitmotifs intercalating to form the gestalt of you or votu, here the leitmotifs being visualised as eels: otu and out. “The ground is yellow, not stony but bunched up in clods like a nubby wool blanket.” (16 Aug 12 – 12.25 pm bst)

Pages 91-102

“…she pulls the baton back burring (sic) in a rapid twirl past her body and up in an arc…[…] The building may be collapsing, one room at a time, but there are still many rooms left.”

In so many ways this book is astonishing, in the current sections instinctually painting in the brushstrokes of the girl Burn and the pigeon girls (waifs that seem to wander your Votu like orphans) and then followed by something so sophisticated in style and elusively allusional plot that it serves to out-Henry James Henry James concerning the relationship in the past of Phryne – a lady as if from the Golden Bowl itself. Remarkable to be able to blend High Weird with High Literature and still tease out appreciation in readers who, I guess, would claim they liked neither. With Kunty’s Brun, plumbing’s lead poisoning as part of complex cosmetics and a theme and variations on the concept of Chauffeur: these and more as bonus tracks to my growing perception of the book’s retrocausal gestalt… (17 Aug 12 – 1.45 pm bat)



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