the abolisher of roses
by Gary Fry
Spectral Press 2011
Reviewed by DF Lewis (14 May 11 – a few minutes after reading it)
Struck by the title and the cover of this neat slim volume – I decided to buy its last copy, as documented elsewhere. It had to be the last copy available, for reasons that will one day become clear, if not before. I’ve also reviewed much of Gary Fry’s short fiction, during the intially brave and personally exciting days of my real-time reviewing experiment.
And I was not to be disappointed. A didactic fable of an ill-seasoned marriage that has grown into cross-purposes of emotional/intellectual/artistic (dis)loyalty and mutual condescension. What a great idea to have a country trail of art installations. Brave in itself, knowing the British weather, but opportune in its being published during the current drought. Damien Hirst has nothing on the haunting horror that these displays play, re-play, un-play, dis-play…. Hmmm, obliquely, I’m glad this is symbolic of the final exhibit in the current spate of erecting gothic-gantries or word-pictures for a contiguously serialised dream-trail each night…. A sort of exorcism or excoriation. Bringing perspective and understanding back into all our relationships. An understanding-indeed-out-of-horror into new alchemies of souls. An efficacy of terror. A polisher of roses. Both.
“Oh, for God’s sake, I was just trying to make the point that we go to art to be challenged, to have our . . . our sedimented habits shaken up.”
I wrote this here yesterday before reading this story. (It only arrived this morning in the post). END