Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An initial post on Brendan Connell's Metrophilias

I've just finished Brendan Connell's delicious book Metrophilias, released this past May by my favorite indie press Better Non Sequitur.

While the book deals with individuals and their obsessions--some of which are deep and Stygian and nearly all of them sexual in nature--each of the thirty-six stories also speak to the anatomy of desire and the secret, fully aberrant drives of humanity. Understand, this is no conventional erotica anthology. It is a delight for the brain rather than the body and offers a dose of psychological revelation.

Since I plan to do the book justice, I will write about it at length in a future post. In the meantime, a word about the prose: Brendan is highly gifted at creating atmosphere and capturing characters, all while deftly playing with the language that communicates it (sticking out in my mind now? The expression "...eyes wormed with carnation..." can be understood as bloodshot eye whites. But to me, the choice of the word 'wormy' over "shot through" or "threaded" perfectly parallels the psychological deterioration of the principal character. And anyone who has lingered for more than a few minutes in the painting aisle of Benjamin Franklin store may understand that the oil pigment 'carnation' is no gentle baby pink, but an aggressive crimson. So, to use a phrase like this not only defies tired expressions, it transmits associations that are simultaneously mystifying and infinitely pleasurable: I see the early paintings of Edvard Munch, the absinthe-colored gas light on the faces of Toulouse Lautrec's actresses and prostitutes, even the vein-threaded bluish skin of Otto Dix's corpses.

There's some amazing work here in Metrophilias, and I plan to write more about it shortly. Unfortunately, right now, duty calls...I have a mound of Comp I papers to grade. More on this in the next post!

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