Xargos – a novel by Frances Oliver
Xargos (Secker & Warburg 1981)
by Frances Oliver
Having reviewed her genre work published by Ash-Tree Press here: Dancing on Air and Children of Epiphany (thanks to the recommendation of Rebekah Brown of the All Hallows Forum), I thought I would try one of Frances Oliver’s ostensibly more mainstream works.
I feel, if it has been neglected, this is a major work that should not have been neglected. Combining EM Forster, DH Lawrence and Robert Aickman – even HP Lovecraft – but essentially a major discovery of originality for me: Frances Oliver. Much business with gender and racial politics – and nightmarish breaching of religious and sexual protocols.
The relentless scenes of sleep and waking and nearness within the claustrophobic expedition tents are absolutely incredible. The flutes of shepherds in lands of hot-steaming misbegotten wonder. The faces in rocks…
Not to overblow this book, it has its moments of gaucheness, but basically: why is it not more well known?
“The face of the stone giant, fully exposed at last, was the face of a Mongoloid child. It simpered up at Irina in sinister idiocy, with drooling mouth and vacant eyes.”
All my real-time reviews in general: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/df-lewis-real-time-reviews/