Mike McCormack: Getting It in the Head Stories



Ort sentences that appear to be fragments but aren t just unexpected syntactically with sprawling dense multiple punctuated sentences Macabre neo gothic wildly inventive and certainly not your run of the mill workshop Whoa it s Roald Dahl s Tales of the Unexpected on steroidI read these stories a couple of years back from a book I loaned from someone I couldn t remember and at some point couldn t ven get the title of this book out of my head but I always remember the stories it contains Yes they are macabre but that s not the only reason why they are so haunting It s the originality of turning something so believeably banal like travelling salesman and young boys playing board games into outrageous outcomes not magical realistic outrageous not badly researched sci fi outrageous but violently imaginative outrageousI need to get a copy for myself now that I remember what the book s really called I didn t HIPPO IN THE GARDEN enjoy the two openers but wonder now if that was simply my needing to acclimate to what are deeply troubling tales The writing is often tremendous the right shade of black and for a rough idea as to what you canxpect here s a passage from Thomas Crumlesh 1960 1992 A Retrospective which felt to me Spinal Trauma eual parts Ian Banks and JG Ballard His deterioration could not go on indefinitely In March 1992 he wrote telling me he planned toxhibit his final piece at the Kassel Documenta He travelled to Dublin the following month and spent a week at my house where he outlined the procedure I was to follow after the operation On the night of the tenth after shaking hands with appropriate solemnity for the last time I administered him a massive dose of morphine a Shadow (New Species, euthanasia injection He died painlessly within four minutes Then following his instructions I removed his remaining left arm and head messy dispiriting work I then boiled the flesh from the arm and skull in a huge bath and using a solution of bleach and furniture polish brought the bone to a luminous whiteness I fixed the skull in the hand and set the whole thing on a wall mount Alas Poor Thomas he had told me to call it Then I sent it to Kassel at thend of the month Thomas already having. Various locations from New York to the west coast of Ireland to the nameless realms of the imagination his stories conjure a world where beautiful but deranged kids make lethal bombs where talen.

Excellent visceral collection of short stories Not all zingers but all of them with a hefty punch in the plot and plenty of them will resonate and rest in my mind long after reading Thematically focussed on Irish life with often surreal or fantastical 細味人生100篇 events that invade mundane circumstances This is superb The stories are intense unexpected and feel so whole and completeven at just 12 pages McCormack throws you in the deep The Gathering (Darkness Rising, end invery story from the very start of the collection the opener The Gospel of Knives is one of the strangest and most subversive stories I ve read There s a thread of religious metaphor throughout the book but one that resonates with me and reflects the way I find myself drawn to religion not so much a moralising but in the recognition that religion can be obsessive and mad and it s power sometimes inexplicable Fuck Even his afterword is masterful I ve never seen someone write a story out of his acknowledgements I started this book a long while back but I have this certainty that these stories are going to stay with me Getting it in the Head is such an apt title This collection very much has the feel of The Great Automatic Grammatizator And Other Stories or that ferris wheel scene in Sputnik Sweetheart two works I read while young that I ve never uite shaken again I m not sure how I m uite going to get over this book and I have this strange urge to recommend it in the strongest terms to veryone I know who reads 35 stars arresting stories with great images and narratives but it definitely read like the first attempt at stories it is Overkill melodrama particularly in the long title story at the xpense of character I felt However a good spiky read you can see talent Chastity emerging and Solar Bones shows a great writer in full flow and control These are the try outs thexperiments that led him there Wow here s a guy taking risks I can imagine most of these stories getting shredded in workshops So this is a great reminder about not being afraid to write an unconventional story What makes them work aside from McCormack s imagination is the nergetic writing the great use of nouns and verbs to describe the mix of sh. In stories like A Is for Axe Dead Man's Fuel The Stained Glass Violations Amor Vincit Omnia and the dazzling title piece McCormack shows a mesmerizing range and dark hued neo Gothic vision Set in.

Informed the gallery as to the kind of work they were to xpect In critical terms it was his most successful piece and when Kiefer singled him out as the genius specific to the jaded tenor of this brutal and fantastic century his reputation was cemented This last piece sold for twenty five Deutschmarks Mike McCormack is a writer from the west of Ireland and Getting it in the Head is his debut collection of short stories first published in 1996 It s been out of print for years which probably Die Neurobiologie des Glücks explains why it has only two other reviews on Goodreads but it s recently been re released by the Irish Lilliput Press and if you re interested you can buy it hereThe collection itselfnjoyed critical success won the Rooney Prize and was named as one of the books of the year by the New York Times It s not a bad collection but it s often less than satisfying and shows the signs of being a first work by a debuting writer Many of the stories Mike McCormack is perhaps best known for his one sentence novel Solar Bones which won the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize and was longlisted for the 2017 Booker prize I was not aware of him before that book so it came as something of a surprise to me to discover that this his debut short story collection was first published as long ago as 1996This collection is A Final Story: Science, Myth, and Beginnings extremely impressive containing some very striking and surprising tales with a loose link of obsessive characters Some are macabre bloodthirsty and surreal others are much grounded in reality One of my favourites was the title story which closes the collection and at 60 pages is almost a novella telling the story in the voices of two brothers the younger Owl clever and obsessed with death and destruction and thelder an alcoholic student dropout They watch the local pub go up in flames and Owl and his friend hatch a plan to take some of the cola bottles in the store behind the ruined building by blowing up the door Their rudimentary bomb succeeds rather too well view spoiler killing Owl s best friend James and building to a dramatic conclusion in which the lder brother frustrated after losing a war game to his brother kills him with a kitchen knife hide spoiler. Ted sculptors spend their careers dismembering themselves in pursuit of their art where wasters ris up with axes and turn into patricides Getting It in the Head is a brilliant bracing tour de for.

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