Title: Jottings From a Far Away Place
Author: Brendan Connell
Format: Advance Review Copy received from Snuggly Books – Released December 1st
My rating: 2/5
“Ranging on the fringes of imagination and erudition, forming a mosaic of stories, maxims and sketches, at once fragmentary and cumulative, Jottings from a Far Away Place combines the timeless, mannered assurance of the Eastern discursive essay with the experimentation of the Western avant-garde. As the focus shifts between fantastic tales and studies of viciousness, the reader is treated to, among myriad other things, the adventures of a Taoist guitar player, a bloody episode with Countess de Báthory, a recipe for cinnabar sauce, and the story of a man who has been reincarnated as a spoon.
A book that is like a collection of bulletins from the world of dreams.”
A conglomeration of stories wrapped into one. I will be honest, I was lost the first time through as it is a contemporary novelette with imaginative elements and stories that are creative and innovative – quite unlike anything I have ever read. I appreciated a different approach to telling multiple stories as this is my first piece by Connell. The short stories are broken up throughout the book that I personally found difficult to follow but after reviewing them, have seen the connections a little better. I wouldn’t say that is dense or comprehensive, but more so intriguing and unique.
Some of the memorable quotes to me were the following:
“A long time ago there was a woman who found out that her husband was a ghost. All her relatives and neighbors begged her to call in an exorcist, but she refused. ‘Love is difficult to come by in this world,’ she said. ‘Why should I care about my husband’s pedigree?'”
“Fish can’t be drowned, ashes can’t be burnt. Completely used up, no one can use you.”