Putting the Pieces in Place – R.B. Russell


8 Sept 2015: I have recently purchased the hard copy of this book:

My 2010 review below was conducted – as the review itself indicates – by using a loose-leafed proof copy of the book kindly supplied to me at that time. It was then impossible to obtain the real book that I now own today.

 Putting the Pieces in Place – R.B. Russell

posted Friday, 23 April 2010

All my real-time reviews: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/df-lewis-real-time-reviews/

A real-time review of some slow motion.

Putting the Pieces in Place – by R.B. Russell (Ex Occidente Press 2008)


(1) Putting the Pieces in Place

A lovely story that features many of my passions – classical music, Venice, coincidences (jncluding the strongest possible coincidence that can create a rare unlikely situation of there being no coincidences at all!), a reel to reel tape-recorder, a ghost and its frisson, a mention of Proust… but fundamentally it seems to ‘explain’ my ownership of these printed stories in the first place, my destiny to become a collector manqué or a collector completist – a piece put in place that caused me to be able to read the stories from unreal to real. (23 Apr 10)


(2) There’s Nothing That I Wouldn’t Do

“The connection between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary.”- Ferdinand de Saussure (1857 – 1913)

A memorable story of stalking in Ukraine and p***k-teasing…

It seems to combine Architecture and Language in a state of real and metaphorical subsidence.  (24 Apr 10)


(3) In Hiding

Incredible, I suppose, that I seemed above to predict – meaningfully, as it turns out – the name of one of this story’s ‘protagonists’, i.e. Ferdinand!

I also predicted the ending of this wonderful ghost story before I reached it. That’s not a criticism. It seems perfect for a book with its overall title of ‘Putting the Pieces in Place’. Gave me a good feeling.

A coolly-told story of a sunburnt Greek island, of an exile because of scandal and a strange companionship. I wonder if it was a ‘spoiler’ to have said above that I predicted the ending. Only if you the reader predicts it correctly, too. And you won’t. (24 Apr 10 – three hours later)


(4) Eleanor

A believable and touching scenario of a Science Fiction convention … of an aging writer as a guest there, one who once created someone who has now become a cult female character since further propelled in various media by others … and he now meets her seemingly ‘for real’ at that convention.  A fable, as it turns out for me, of a character creating its own author just as much as an author creating its own character – and each taking the main chance to fleece the other by whatever means of creativity or harsh reality. Except both, here, can shrug off their own reality sincerely to love each other’s unreality.  Real to real. Unreal to unreal. (24 Apr 10 – another 3 hours later)


(5) Dispossessed

“Andrew told his mother that Jayne seemed to him to be something of a blank canvas.”

A female at a loose end between relationship and shelter. The tape, too, when it flaps around and around at a spool’s loose-end. A dead pet or a residuary full groin, we have here a feel of that Ukraine stalker again, but who stalks whom? Here we are left to find our own way home to a chapter or story that I was given prior opportunity to read but have been too busy elsewhere with other chapters or stories. Who says a book’s stories should be read in order of printing, especially if they’re loose-leafed? But what else can I logically do when faced with real-time?

It is difficult to draw gestalt from this exquisitely Russellian book’s leitmotifs, as this story’s last reel continues flapping around. At least I now have some period of grace to regroup as reader, to escape the ancient scratches and feelers around me upon a tabula rasa or screen.  All the pages freeze-framing, separate from the spine or spindle that once kept them together.

There is an afterword I’ve not yet read, an afterword seeming to imply an emptiness beyond each word. Still flapping around, flapping around… (24 Apr 10 – another 3 hours later)


comments (3)

1. Weirdmonger left…

Saturday, 24 April 2010 9:55 pm :: http://weirdmonger.blog-city.com/recent_

All DFL’s previous reel-time reviews are linked from above.

2. Weirdmonger left…

Sunday, 25 April 2010 8:55 am :: http://www.exoccidente.com/piecesinplace

I have now read the ‘Afterword’ by Elizabeth Brown and enjoyed it. Also the book itself that contains the text is complete, lovely and hopefully will be reprinted, shown at link immediately above. It’s good to put the pieces in place.

(BTW, for one moment I misread ‘Elizabeth Brown’ as ‘Elizabeth Bowen’!).

3. Weirdmonger left…

Sunday, 25 April 2010 9:49 am

It needs reprinting, btw, because it’s sold out.


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3 responses to “Putting the Pieces in Place – R.B. Russell

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

  2. Pingback: Ex Occidente Press – My Real-Time Reviews | My Last Balcony

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

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