Thursday 11 August 2011

The Scotsman Abroad | Mistificationing

Some will come, and some will go; as it is, so shall it ever be... and that's just dandy! It's the way of the world, and I suppose it's only proper that the internet should follow suit.

Nonetheless, those that remain are my favourite folks of all, and among you - yes you - a few might recall that I rather sang Kaaron Warren's praises last year, for the weird wonder that was Walking the Tree. 'Twas a timeless sort of tale; smart and emotional, haunting even, and fully-formed for all its sparsity.

Now I hadn't read Kaaron's debut at the time -- and though I still haven't reviewed it, I have had occasion to peruse and very much approve of Slights since. It's a very different sort of novel than I'd imagined, but a remarkable and remarkably thoughtful piece of work for all that it roundly outmanoeuvred my expectations.

But back on point: I came to Kaaron's latest novel, Mistification, knowing enough about the author to know not to expect anything expectable. Which was just as well, really, because Mistification as different from Walking the Tree in its way as Walking the Tree was from Slights. Think Paul Auster's Mr Vertigo meets The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne M. Valente, if you must think of it in such terms.

What I discovered in Mistification left me in two minds, in any event:

"Mistification begins marvellously, austere and mysterious, and it ends on a truly grand conjuration laden with emotional resonance. Warren saves her best trick for the encore performance, and it sounds out a note of such tremendous follow-through, finally, that judged only on its first and last acts, Mistification could be among the year's most powerful dark fantasies. The trouble is in the between-times, which only ever feel like between-times..." 

The full review is over at Strange Horizons. 

If you're at all interested in "the latest from one of Australia's most daring voices whether within or without the boundaries of genre literature" - and however mixed my feelings about Mistification are, understand that assuredly you should be - I'd recommend you click on through to read the thing in full.

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