Reading is a challenge. I would say that NASCENT ILLUSION is a challenge. A perfect symbiosis of title, covering, prose and poetry, carefully worked out to fit the personal genius of the writer.
Nathan Hassall has taken a good care in creating the title, for "it minds". Yes. Even the sound of the words spoken in loud voice will give a twist in the tongue that is sensual, and yet, behind that sensuality there is a dream quality...the feeling that you are before a flow of writing that is about what "it is not", just to understand the difference between the "before and the after" of being born, and the final result of an "illusion" that is implicit to Life.
The cover attracts us to the light, and that black&white inversion creates the effect of being inside the Soul's negative, that hollow space where the form of it will emerge, once we have got into contact with the Essence. Some will say...."never mind the cover. What about the words? ". And I will tell them. Well...this is a book's review, and I find that a book is more than words. The cover is a window. An invitation. And I cherish it and the pages destined to dedicate the work to some people the author is feeling like deserving it. And specially , the sweet and soulful dedicating of the book to a grand-mother's memory. When you do that, the book becomes eternal...stretching its virtue beyond Time. And so Nathan has done.
NASCENT ILLUSION can be "divided" into the prose and the poetry and there is not a clear division between them excepting the fact that prose has been placed before the poetry. Why not in a reversed way? Because there is a narrative..stories ....short stories that fill the basis of day-dreaming...or night-dreaming related, and they can glue us to the author's soul in a quicker way.
It is not that the stories are jokes, or funny moods, but true oneiric apertures to things that relate to the "common life". Nathan's vocabulary is rich and freewheeling. In one paragraph you can enjoy the dancing hip-hop of expressions, that for being there, are shining more and more like comets and wandering stars. But you get the traveling shinning. And feel delighted.
Besides that mood. There is an strong sense of irony, sarcasm, "black humor" and "white humor".
You can smile, laugh, try to flight from, get curious... and get a sudden shudder , because nothing is what it seems. There is mystery. Gluing mystery. Nathan reveals an amazing knowledge of the "human nature". And besides that, you can sense an extremely and even "candid youth" that it is not because he is really "young", but that he is enjoying his youth. So...at the end, your vision is that you are before a real intelligent and creative young soul, having an extraordinary "old mind".
Poetry is more difficult to comprehend. It becomes a bit more "cryptic". So I am sticking to that of "reading is a challenge". Nathan is not a "self-pleasing" writer or poet. Not dedicated to make his work "palatable". On the contrary, there, in poetry, his flooding "shrinks" and becomes sometimes "minimalistic". Symbols hiding behind symbols. Situations are not telling about things, but "are things"... events of the soul that you can use for painting an inner landscape that obviously will be "your landscape" for poetry is for that, for being used as a "Soul's Resonance"'s support. Again, Nathan's relation with animals, elements, desires and remembrances, dreams as a whole picture...never scattered like mad thoughts, are there occupying an space of our imagination, that would work hard in order to "be there". Could it be that is he inviting us to dream not his dreams but "together with his dreams"?
I keep on reading...and learning with this wonderful book. I become richer, deeper and more alive. Look for its verses and moods because they are my own. Love to recite the prose and poetry and listen to the echo. And may be....after some time I will be able to "review" it again and again. Being each "review" a caress on Nathan's skin's soul.
January 18th -2012
Bilbao - SPAIN.