The WEIRD (22)

Real-Time Review continued from HERE.

The WEIRD: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
Edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
First published in Great Britain 2011 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.

27/11/11 – another 90 minutes later

Theme & Variations on Yesterfang.

The Country Doctor – Steven Utley

“The roaring in my head rose in pitch and blended into the incessant twirring  of the cicadae.”

Todash and Yesterfang. (One a real word the other just as real). An important story that transcends its own early run-of-the-mill narrative stumbling towards an archaeological discovery – amid the moving of a generational graveyard from a town threatened by ultimate ‘drowning’ – and the genealogically-inclined ex-scion of that town returned to oversee such machinations of exhumation and possible desecration of his memories and his loved ones from erstwhile decades and centuries. All with some aura of disfigurement or inbreeding, including himself. A workmanlike narrative – arriving however in a digging of fingers into the earth – to regain some unclear balance, integrity, healing, wiring up with the earth’s core (?) – after the shocking Fortean revelation in one influential exhumation stemming from life’s erstwhile influence over the community – now facing the effacement of flood. That is very much a personal paraphrase of the story. The dead come back to bite you, and still corrupt one’s blood…  The story seems to fit some rogue gestalt of this book that will never be exhumed because many speed-readers or skimming reviewers of this imposing tome will fail to by-pass the headstones or by-lines or false auras over the stories that inadvertently stop most readers digging beneath their surface-meanings to find unwelcome as well as welcome dreams. I only hope this real-time review manages to encourage the wildest possible excavations to unearth the apocryphans as well as the testamentary truths that this book still holds within itself – a book that (even if unintentionally so) remains impervious even to the likes of me and my brainstorming shovels, as well as to the Reva-Menders themselves.

PS: Interesting comparison with the family in the Oates story ‘Family’.

Continued as The WEIRD (23) HERE.

Index of this whole real-time review HERE.


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