mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Note for those who might try it: Don't read Susannah Clarke's new book (a collection of short stories) while sickening for the flu. It makes the world look very odd indeed.

I like her voice, I do like her voice, because it's perfect, which may be the problem. As with JS&MN I keep seeing these rooms, these interiors that belong, I have to assume, to places I saw in childhood before I was thinking, or saw on my adult travels when I was thinking of something else-- given that a large chunk of my 20's was spent in various parts of England of which I retain no memory at all. It makes me feel most strange. I'm a place person: emotions and memories attach to places, not events or people, so when I see a familiar house or room there's automatically a bunch of old feelings there, like ghosts, unattached to the present and usually vaguely kimoi. (Austen was mad when she said one doesn't necessarily dislike a place because one has been unhappy there. Huh? If I was unhappy there then I'll be unhappy there now, no question. The unhappiness becomes part of the place.) (Also, that race in Cherryh that never forgets anything. Bet if I had total recall I'd have no sense of transcendence at all. Anything ineffable I can think of usually seems to link back to something seen in childhood of which only the most distant outlines remain.)

Clarke's England, her unchancy and not terribly nice England, is something I know, possibly because the places I was in had the same psychic unease to them. Traveller's distress, maybe, the depression of the dépaysée, or just the way England normally operates. Stuff seen out the corner of the eye, ancient emotions overlaying the landscape like smog, a vague and unplaceable sense of menace. Whatever, it makes reading Clarke a weirder exercise than reading Ima Ichiko, whose bogles walk around in the light of day like anyone else, looking honestly bogley to anyone who can see them.
Tags: 100demons, reading_06

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