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This review is from: Invocation Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
I am going to try and write more about this book some place else (is that a sure fire way to get unhelpful votes?) but in the meantime, I just wanted to chip in here too.
'Invocation' begins with the Johnny Thunders line "you can't put your arms around a memory", which is, if not the premise, definitely the promise of the book, especially if the version of that song we're talking about is the 'Live and Wasted' version, where Johnny goes off into the long monologue beginning 'I've got a problem with the business world. The business world thinks I'm crazy..." And just like the vocals in that version of the song, and maybe even more so, in its elasticity and expansiveness, there's also a tragic and calamitous remoteness, a heart-wrenching disaffection and distance, mainly surrounding the character Myfanwy, and what she has or hasn't seen and what she has or hasn't done.
Taking its rhythm from the simultaneously building/ breaking, creating/ disintegrating energy of memory and mind, the prose and its sort of futuristic Norman Foster/ architecture is built up with other novels, other stories and other incidents... Even, other poetry. At the same time, it's an action packed thriller or at least a mystery, as if the product of that famous line at the beginning of Infinite Jest, when Hal thinks he's saying "I do things like get in a taxi and say "The library. And step on it!" but can't be understood.
With some of the best action sequences i've ever read, it often seems like movement or action in 'Invocation' is us in the throes of Merleau-Ponty, where stuff happens not through the desire to achieve a result but as a way of relieving an unmanageable tension. And it's full of tension, peaking and troughing and hinging and swinging and all that through forests, cafes, cares and caves of attention, engagement and emotion.
But I haven't gotten across at all how fun, mysterious and thrilling this book is, which it undoubtedly is, populated by wise-cracking teenagers and their a-level art projects. The laughter which could also be chittering teeth, on a bench, under the rain, in The Meadows. Beautifully pitched, this book does that thing that David Foster Wallace spoke of of "comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable." In abundance.