Sunday, 9 August 2009

Review - PHANTASY MOSTE GROTESK

Serial Killers, Freaks, and Sexual Tension - How can you go wrong?

I don't normally do reviews but I thought it was appropriate that I share my thoughts on this little piece of depraved carnival.

Let me start with the production quality - I was blown away. I hadn't heard of Chapter Books before receiving this copy but I hope that Corpulent Insanity Press publish many more. According to Wikipedia a Chapter Book is "a story book intended for intermediate readers, generally aged 7-10." I'm pretty sure that this Chapter book is not targeting that demographic. The poor little tykes wouldn't sleep for a week.

Those familiar with Ms Dowker's work would have a fair chance of guessing in which direction she will be taking the reader on this perambulation through perversity.

The male lead (Josh) is a whinging twit with sexual issues. From the first page I'm hoping that things are going to go poorly for him. To make things worse we pick up a hint that he is some sort of reformed loony serial killer. Josh's pathetic performance is balanced by a strong female lead called Erin. As an aside - did you know that Erin was often used by 19th Century poets to represent the female personification of Ireland? The name Joshua is often interpreted to mean "God rescues" - and by the end of the story young Josh is going to need it.

I enjoyed the thematic resonance created by the overlay of language and descriptive passages. The religious references were mostly subtle and perhaps unintended with Seth (the third son of Adam who lived to 912 apparently), and the manifestation of a new hell, albeit the crucifixion scene was a tad more obvious. I am a bit concerned about Felicity though, if she perceives a moonlit night as "a pale bloated corpse, drifting above ... in the fetid waters of the starless sky", perhaps she has some issues to work through. Seriously though, the use of language in this story is a beautiful thing. Immerse yourself in the sheer Dowkerness of it all.

The weirdness cranks up a notch when Erin and Josh discover a circus tent erected on the local footy ground. I won’t give away any more as it would spoil the surprise and you should experience Ms Dowker's prose first hand. My only disappointment in this story is that there were no creepy clowns – but perhaps that would be clich├ęd and that is one thing that you will never find in Felicity’s writing.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great review, David - glad you "enjoyed" the book! ;o)

    It's always excellent to see others' interpretations of things. I didn't really know on a conscious level that there were so many religious subtexts in the story, so it was interesting to read the potential ones you point out. I also didn't see Josh as a serial killer, but I can see where you might get that from, nonetheless. I love when a story takes on a life and meaning of its own for different people!

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  2. Hi Felicity,

    I did enjoy it! Any interpretation probably says more about me and my Christian Brothers education than your story.

    ;-)

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