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Archive for the "Books" Category

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington

My morning tempers often transcend into day tempers and eventually in unadulterated pure magical hatred towards the mere existence of other human organisms if left untreated. I remember walking down the isle of a supermarket (true — a really dreadful place to be) and seeing someone standing right in the middle where I couldn’t pass. What this person did, this defiant act of just standing, got under my nails and skin and right through my head and set my hair on fire in a moment’s time. I realised how ridiculous I was feeling so all there was left to do was curl up into a ball and read. That day, I finished reading The Hearing Trumpet in a patch of sun with my mother’s eighties sunglasses on because the sun was so perfectly bright and then all was brilliant and beautiful.

The main thing that lifted my spirits was obviously Leonora Carrington’s writing.

via Flickr
I think the internet should love this book. It features a ninety-two year old with a beard, a deep love of cats and a best friend who makes up fantastic fantastical stories and who dreams of machine guns and helicopters. As the story revolves you get to read about more beautiful nonagenarians, crazy nuns, witches, unicorns all in a majestic nursing home that has bungalows shaped like cake and mushrooms and other perfect things. I imagined the ladies very akin to the beautiful babes over at Advanced Style. I don’t want to mention more because delving into it with hardly any knowledge was such a trip. The language was fresh, always funny and the mere fact of reading about ninety-year olds generally kicking ass is such a welcome change to any and all protagonists I have ever read about.

A slap in the face of public taste

Here are some awful scans from the beautiful book, The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934 by the MoMA. Please feel free to buy this for me.

david burliuk and vladimir burliuk

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The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

There are times when you read or see something and all of a sudden it connects with every thing that follows.

I dyed my hair, again. While I was in the store figuring out the right shade of teenage rebellion sehnsucht I was distracted by groups of teenagers, who were anxiously trying on fake plugs or picking out a piercing with jittery fingers trying to say something vaguely cool in front of their friends (and failing), who were equally anxious, and excited all at the same time.

In a different way, like I have been connecting everything this past week or so, this reminded me of Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop. I cannot say I loved it all too much, but it’s been lingering in my consciousness. The story itself is unimportant in this but the more symbolic narrative, reinforced by the drugged atmospheric writing sticks in a sort of frightening way.

The book begins with the most sensuous description of a girl’s discovery of one’s own body, the part where you’re that special kind of young where you still love yourself and touch yourself and look at yourself in such beautiful anticipation. But then abruptly stops.

From thereon the story becomes gradually violent, confusing and so smothering, always in that same little dark building with those creepy dolls hovering over you with their weird allegories. With that huge phallic symbol of a ghost man that makes you afraid to breathe. The highlight when Melanie is physically but, I guess, mostly symbolically confronted with a man’s desire was gross and scary and violent and you felt like suffocating, losing your childhood and facing something of an inhibitive stoic adulthood. At the same time your face flushed and your shaking hands were waiting to embrace (sexual) maturity while being too afraid to touch it. But longing anyway. And it only culminated in destruction, however small or however big it seemed. And disappointment, too, but it’s the good kind somehow, and you’re left with a comparative calmness and a stillness so foreign you could never have imagined it. And some zit scars.