Divinations of the Deep by Matt Cardin (my 4th real-time review – 10 Dec 2008)

‘Divinations of the Deep’ by Matt Cardin (Ash-Tree Press 2002)

My informal commentary on this book extracted from the message board here: http://shocklinesforum.yuku.com/topic/8488


Against my better judgement, I’ve read the author’s ‘Preface’ prior to reading the ‘stories’, mainly by treating it as a ‘story’ in itself.
It says: “… a thread comes unraveled and a ray of darkness shines through…” This may or may not be the long awaited thread, but I wonder why ‘God’ is in upper case here while His ‘he’ and ‘his’ aren’t?



Ranging from (MR)Jamesian narration technique to the ‘Quincunx’ sects (& sex) of Lawrence Durrell, this story, for me, is about names and letters (ie for God and Truth) , bits missing (T instead of U), Flesh and spirit as one, unquenched fire of May Sinclair, large breasts, Machen-like or Poe-like transfiguration, questionable authorships, religions as deterrents to the things they worship, twisted genealogies, books (bibles) and recurring librarians, the speaking of crossed tongues, and more, changing from lovers to siblings and back again – all a symphony of sheer Horror in isolation implied and explicit – or “adrift in an eternal nocturne”..

Later: A quote I was trying to rediscover until it was ready to be rediscovered: “…I simply could not generate the false persona necessary to any form of writing…”


Parts I and II of The Monk’s Answer: NOTES OF A MAD COPYIST

My jumbled list above of ‘An Abhorrence To All Flesh’ has become more unified here towards what I’ve always seen as SYNCHRONISED SHARDS OF RANDOM TRUTH AND FICTION. The narrator here, like the previous narrator, looks at his hand … the flesh and bone….
Words seen as ‘savourable’ objects – a major preoccupation of mine, too, as is what lies behind:- “The purity of my intentions had not mattered. The new thoughts struggling to emerge had had their say, with no regard for my reservations. […] my book had been transformed radically, through a shocking shift in vocabulary and theology, into something else.”


Part III of The Monk’s Answer: NOTES OF A MAD COPYIST

I had to finish reading where I did after Part II, because I somehow felt the shadow of my own ‘abbot’ behind me, checking up on me. Really! As if reading someone else’s work (this work) was like the monk’s ‘copying’ of it. 

Part III is extremely disturbing. Writing Horror, as I have done for many years, does bring one’s own abbot ‘shadow’ as tutelary guardian angel only to find out it’s a demon not an angel. This part of the story seems to imply that the ‘abbot’ is part of the Horror itself and not something trying to punish me for writing (or reading or mis-reading) the Horror! These thoughts are part of what the fiction I’m reading here makes me think. It is good to know it is only fiction, therefore.


Part IV & V (end) of The Monk’s Answer: NOTES OF A MAD COPYIST

For the last few years I’ve speculated (and blogged) about ‘Magic Fiction’, ‘Fiction as Religion’, Proustian Selves, Nemonymity etc
and all the while this ‘story’ existed without my direct knowledge which seems to embody some of these concerns through (Biblical?) exegesis and text as savourable texture.

Not only is it thus rarefied and special, it is also accessible disturbing Horror in a fiction genre I’ve always loved.

My thoughts on it, however, seem subject to their own (false?) exegesis: as if I’m a wayward Monk who fails to copy correctly and brings in his (i.e. my) own extraneous and irrelevant concerns and theories in the comments so far on Matt Cardin’s text????

“…Fallow be thy Names.”


Answer Given to an Innocent Bystander: THE BASEMENT THEATRE

Here we have a nightmare of ever-tightening deja-vu and suffocating levels of meta-fiction – where the reader at first identifies with the Sub-lessor/Narrator of the fiction but, for me, I identified more readily with the Head-lessor (the playwright) which in many ways was even more frightening than empathising with the story’s ‘I’ (Matt Cardin?) whom I seem to persecute against my own wishes.
A masterpiece – and it echoes the reading between the lines not only of the text (as before in this book) but between the lines on the palm of your hand to see if it is your map of life you’re following or someone else’s completely.


The Artist’s Answer: IF IT HAD EYES

Oh, this is truly marvellous stuff. (And without harping on the point, anyone accustomed to the ‘nothingness’ theme (both (literally) physical and aesthetic/’spiritual’) that has threaded the editions of ‘Nemonymous’ over the years will realise easily why I am not only impressed by this story, but doubly impressed! It also carried forward the flesh/spirit theme started by this book’s first story.

Also (and I make no charges here), but I’m sure Stephen King must have read IF IT HAD EYES (2002) before he wrote the novel DUMA KEY (2008)!!


The Final Answer (given to God): JUDAS OF THE INFINITE

We finally take the uppercase from god; figuratively. Flesh/Spirit as an ethos similar to a Cern experiment or a Financial Meltdown.
Nothingness in the previous story, spiritual emptiness here as a mutant relative (I guess) of Azathoth’s core of Infinity (or The Angel Megazanthus).
The derelict here reminds me of the dosser Padgett Weggs and his screams of existential angst in sight of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1986.

Matt Cardin’s wonderful conceit that Religion is the deterrent for whatever that Religion worships….

This whole book is Fiction-as-Religion in action. It is truer than truth. imho.


“I’m a wayward Monk who fails to copy correctly and brings in his (i.e. my) own extraneous and irrelevant concerns and theories when commenting on DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP.” — DF Lewis 


All my Real-Time Reviews are linked from here: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/df-lewis-real-time-reviews/



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2 responses to “Divinations of the Deep by Matt Cardin (my 4th real-time review – 10 Dec 2008)

  1. Pingback: DF LEWIS REAL-TIME REVIEWS | My Last Balcony

  2. Pingback: DF Lewis's Real-Time Reviews

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