Reviews of this Reggie Oliver story (so far):
Reggie Oliver juxtaposes scenes of quiet tenderness between husband and wife, with a deep sense of loss and frustration, helplessness and existential dread – depicted literally or in the mind of the narrator through terrifying glimpses of a vast, churning abyss of wilted flowers and nightmarish form
Flowers of the Sea by Reggie Oliver follows that story and is my favourite of the collection. A slow burning story it uses a first person perspective from a not entirely sympathetic narrator and conjures up images in its climax that are truly unsettling
Reggie Oliver’s contribution (“Flowers of the Sea”) is even darker than his previous work , a masterly told story of desperation, helplessness and loss of identity with a deeply unsettling horrific taste.
An artist with advancing dementia creates works that mirror her deteriorating mental state. It seemed a little contrived once or twice, but the imagery and metaphor make for a powerful and affecting tale.
We are drawn in by a true and skillfully depicted human tragedy, hypnotized by visionary weird elements, then stunned with the horror of a climax which shockingly melds the tale’s ideas and emotions with a vivid physical presence
And I think “Flowers of the Sea” has perhaps the slightest of edges on all the others: rarely has a story torn itself out of the page and taken on a something-elseness, a state beyond writing and reading. I was seriously wondering (correction: I continue to wonder) whether Reggie was employing some sort of hypno-word rhythm to lure the reader’s mind into another place
Reggie Oliver has a story here, and I’m beginning to fall head over heels in love with his writing. Reggie is one of my discoveries of the year. Flowers of the Sea, is a heart breaking, moving, and poignant story that will move you when you read.
“Flowers of the Sea” by Reggie Oliver follows the physical and mental decay of an artist, as told by her husband, whose slowly dawning consciousness of the process of the disease has a haunting emotional depth. The narrator’s realisation of his own mortality is rendered with great skill. The story seems to draw out the themes of the collection’s other narratives, to focus their sometimes only half-expressed ideas, with a disturbing clarity.
“…the itinerary of a journey into the depths of hell, the story one of the most disturbing in the book, with its unnerving imagery and account of the slow inevitable loss of self…” Black Static #25 (TTA Press)
After 19/1/12, further reviews on this story will appear in the comments below.