24 September 2007

New Strange Horizons

The latest Strange Horizons has a marvelous essay by Abigail Nussbaum on Anna Kavan's novels Ice and Guilty:
Ice's plot doesn't so much progress as spiral inwards, tightening in on the moment in which the encroaching ice leaves only the narrator and the woman alone in the world. Even this point of convergence, however, isn't the novel's purpose -- indeed, the story ends ambivalently, holding out the possibility of yet more iterations of the narrator's story to come. Ice is an exercise in sustaining an emotional tone -- an oppressive, terrifying, senseless one. It succeeds at this task admirably, making for a reading experience that is not so much pleasant as irresistible, and an emotional impact that proves very difficult to shake off.
(For another view of Ice, see L. Timmel Duchamp's essay from Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet.)

Also in this issue of Strange Horizons is my latest column. This one is about Guy Davenport's story "Belinda's World Tour" (available in A Table of Green Fields and The Death of Picasso). The column is a sort of companion piece to my previous one, continuing to look at the representation of historical figures in fiction.


  1. The Nussbaum piece is really very good, thanks.

  2. Really interesting column, Matt. You've now got me wanting to seek out the short story.

  3. BELINDA'S WORLD TOUR was printed in a delightful limited edition (Crane A36: 100 signed and numbered copies) by Dim Gray Bar Press with illustrations by Deborah Norden. Copies remain available here and there at close to the publication price ($100). (I keep track of all Davenport limited editions and will happy to help anyone locate anything you are looking for). David Eisenman

  4. Thanks, David -- that must be a lovely book. It's a perfect story to be illustrated.

    And Jason, yes, do seek out the story -- both collections it's in are wonderful, but Death of Picasso is particularly worth seeking out because it includes a bunch of the other Kafka stories Davenport wrote, so you can see the whole range. It took me some time before I could really appreciate the Kafka stories, and reading a few of them definitely helped.

  5. Thanks for pointing us to the Kavan review. Crazy that an author that good could remain so little known.