- Apr 22, 2009
angryeyetwitch.gif@_Katie_ If you did want to go down the escapism route for a break, maybe something like a beautiful edition of an Ursula LeGuin?
Don't know where to start? The essential novels of Ursula K Le Guin
Well theres a difference between describing a work of being "escapist", which I did not do, and saying one can use it as escapism from grief. So you know, read what I said.Like LeGuin, when someone accuses work that is incredibly moving and powerful and, well, life-altering of being "escapist" I flip out a bit.
This is great, thanks! I've read a bit of Ligotti and Andrew Michael Hurley but the others are new to me. The Dummy sounds really up my street so will have a look for that next.I went back through what I've read across the past 7 or 8 years and it turns out I've read very little that fits your criteria. Here's a list of gothic and weird fiction from the past 12 years (not all novels, some are short story collections,in two cases the material inside is older, and some of these I've covered in the recent posts):
The Dummy & Other Uncanny Stories - Nicholas Royle (2018)
Genuinely one of the best collections of stories I've read ever. I only read it a few months ago (it's fairly new) and I actually want to read it again already. It's published by Swan River Press in Dublin so you'd be supporting a great publisher but it is pricier than your average book because it's a small press edition.
Sparks in the Fire - Rosalie Parker (2018)
See my previous posts.
The Devil’s Hoof – Jonathon Barry (2017)
Gothic novel set in south Dublin/north Wicklow, based around nefarious goings-on at the Hellfire Club. A British officer is sent out to investigate grisly murders and all sorts of divilment is afoot. It's grand, mainly interesting for its setting for me, but not amazing.
The House of Silence – Avalon Brantly (2017)
This is a very special book and not one to go in to lightly. It's a sequel to William Hope Hodgson's The House on the Borderland (1908) which is basically the greatest work of weird fiction ever published. It is in a different league entirely to anything Lovecraft managed to conjure up (and Lovecraft cites Hodgson as an influence). So if you haven't read that, not only is this book wasted on you, you need to read it anyway because it's amazing. It is also worth reading Hodgson's last novel, The Night Land (1912), an expressionist romance based in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has retreated to giant glass pyramids because the world has been plunged into darkness and monsters are everywhere. It's a difficult but I think hugely underrated book that Brantley's The House of Silence is best appreciated in light of it. The only problem is that The House of Silence is currently only available as a very expensive limited edition that costs over a €200 new from the publisher. I got the less limited edition (which was still expensive at around €50-60) but that appears to be sold out. Not sure if it's available electronically but it is brilliant and worth all of the above effort.
The Moons at Your Door – Various, edited by David Tibet (2016)
Anthology of Tibet's favourite stories, most of them are old. Some are obscure so worth delving into to try new authors.
Muladona - Eric Stener Carlson (2016)
See my previous posts.
The Spectral Link – Thomas Ligotti (2014)
Short novel by Ligotti that I read when it came out and remember nothing about it apart from feeling underwhelmed by it.
The Loney - Andrew Michael Hurley (2014)
You've probably read this but it's one that most people seem to really dig. I liked it up to a point (the atmosphere is top notch) but felt it fizzled out at the end.
Flowers of the Sea - Reggie Oliver (2013)
See my previous posts.
Teatro Grottesco – Thomas Ligotti (2006)
A collection of Ligotti's best short stories and possibly the most important weird fiction since the days of Lovecraft/Hodgson/Ashton Smith/Machen. Essential.
Like LeGuin, when someone accuses work that is incredibly moving and powerful and, well, life-altering of being "escapism" I flip out a bit.Well theres a difference between describing a work of being "escapist", which I did not do, and saying one can use it as escapism from grief. So you know, read what I said.
I think it's only available to order directly from the publisher, not sure if anywhere in Dublin actually stocks Swan River PressThis is great, thanks! I've read a bit of Ligotti and Andrew Michael Hurley but the others are new to me. The Dummy sounds really up my street so will have a look for that next.
Okay, I'll get down to it:Its not really better, because my point is about how people can use literature, and what it can mean to them (also relevant that escapism can be a moving and a powerful experience, and dare I say it, life changing for a person) however they see fit. Why the word accuse? It seems like a snobby response to a heartfelt recomemndation from someone for whom escapism can be a really useful tool.
Okay, I'll get down to it:
I think the Earthsea books would be an excellent recommendation as a way of processing grief in a situation like this, depending on the person of course. However, since they walk a line between being implicitly and explicitly about death and grief I reacted badly to the idea that they would be "escapist" in nature in this, or indeed any other, situation since "escapist" and "escapism" are often used as derogatory terms meaning "non-serious". Combined with the fact that you recommended a "beautiful" edition, as if the words couldn't be beautiful enough, it rubbed me up the wrong way and my immediate reaction was to give out to you.
However, being that a) it was a list about LeGuin's books in general, b) I figured this was all stuff you probably already knew and you just used the word "escapist" as shorthand and recommended a beautiful edition because it's a nice thing to do, and c) within the context of where the thread was, the idea of jumping in with an unasked for lecture about the meaning of a word would seem very rude; I thought I'd just turn my instinctive reaction into a small joke where I thought there'd be no victim and leave it at that.
So I apologize for the insult, none was meant, I hope the above at least explains my thinking. I'll leave the jokes to the experts in future.
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