A Cruel Man Delighting in Flowers

...the mildness to which men ... had yielded was only half of the intoxication of beauty, while the other half ... was of such surpassing and terrible cruelty—the most cruel of men delights himself with a flower—that beauty ... failed quickly of its effect... 

Hermann BrochThe Death of Virgil

 

Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He once painted a fingernail black and no one really noticed. He was disappointed. He’s also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. His first novel, 'Missing Presumed Undead', will be re-published by Satalyte Publishing in February 2014. A second is on its way.

Fredy Neptune: A Novel in Verse

Fredy Neptune - Les Murray I do not give five stars lightly. (Now that this review has been transferred to Good Reads, which doesn't give half stars, this opening is a little empty...I have had to move many 4.5 star ratings to five, since I couldn't drop them back to 4. Either way, you get the point...)

This verse novel is probably the most startling reading experience I have had in some time. It is a literary achievement on a scale with Homer: imagining Homer was a contemporary Australian that is, and, if someone had told me that it had taken the author most of their life to write, I could have believed them. You may have to put all you've heard about Les - from him or others - to the most furtherest pocket of your mind to grasp this: hard, but try. It's worth it. There is a marvelous ebb and flow to the often lyric verse that allows the story to really sneak up on you. It is, perhaps, not something to read in one sitting, or even two or three. You need to let it settle. Murray has managed to weld together a kind of modern Australian uber-narrative with a great yarn, a pure, poetry-breathing experience, and an uncompromising authenticity with how it depicts and engages with the modern human experience. It is both touching and brash. It is the poet made a poem.

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