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Jim Meirose

Review of W<J>P Newnham’s

(Click on the title to read the story.)

Clown in a Landscape (or Dream Landscape) by Bryan Charnley

This is a story about an ending. Apparently, in this instance, of a person, but; showing the steps which can be observed through the stepwise ending of anything of substance which, having wound down, quietly and simply stops at an end. Important here is the term “an” end. “The” end would be too absolute, too solid. The style of this piece is ethereal all the way through. Like looking down at cloud tops “sort of” shrouding a range of mountains being passed over. You “see” this or that character—but immediately—you simply intuit them. Your eyes grasp at the moments of sharp relief which spark to life—the look of Eddie’s hot rodded wheelchair, for example—the look of the food—Eddie’s Mother—the druggie (seems like it) doorperson–but all of these sink instantly back into the swirl of the engulfing prose, before the mind can sharply register what’s just been seen. This reader strains to “see” what’s concrete but the veil of vagueness comes and goes ‘round the bits of reality poking up here and there, teasing the eyes; making it even more important to push aside the veil and see the whole stretch of what’s real—making it more important to push through to the end to see for sure what has just been read about. Oh, yes, cold analysis will of course reveal exactly what’s what—because this writer knows the story cold and every nut and bolt it’s made of. But, where’s the fun there for the reader? In in the end, Warwick leaves you with a delicious (not frustrating) need to think over more than once—what has really just happened to these people? In what state is poor Eddie suspended in now? And there’s no doubt this effect is intentional. It gives rise to the need to reread. But this is no negative. The reader will not look back in frustration—but in curiosity. Warwick has delivered in this piece a delicious puzzle which has multiple solutions—something that can be worked through again and again with each pass feeling like the first time again. Great work. More like a game than a story. A gem.


About the reviewer:
Jim Meirose‘s work has appeared in numerous venues. His novels include Sunday Dinner with Father Dwyer (Optional Books), Understanding Franklin Thompson (JEF), Le Overgivers au Club de la Résurrection (Mannequin Haus), and No and Maybe – Maybe and No (Pski’s Porch).

About WJP Newnham:
W.J.P. Newnham hitchhiked around Australia working as barman, bum and waiter, slaughter hand, deckhand and master, spending 25 years working in the Northern Prawn Fishery. He has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia, the Americas, and Japan and speaks marketplace Indonesian with some fluency. He is the winner of the 2016 The Lifted Brow’s Experimental Non-fiction Prize. His numerous short stories have been published in Nocturnal SubmissionsOverlandThe Lifted BrowMeanjinWesterly and Horror Sleaze Trash [to name but a few]. Newnham is an Associate Editor for Experimental Discourse at O:JA&L.

Image: Clown in a Landscape (or Dream Landscape) by Bryan Charnley (1949-1991). Oil on canvas. 31 x 51 cm. 1983. By free license.

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