When I read I remember a dream I never had… Images emerge and maybe fuse into illustration… not as interpretation but as layers of meaning. Metaphor, metonym, synecdoche or simulacrum might occupy the space between text and image, but sometimes it’s just about the pleasure of being marked by words. Reading should feel like lovemaking, and its illustration an afterglow of gratification.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The art of transformation famously perfected by Gregor Samsa. I pursue my Kafka obsession over here.
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes
The practised art of gentle insanity was, perhaps, always our best option.
Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson
Is Kate the last person on earth, or the first postmodern solipsist..?
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
The crushing weight of words is only matched by the crushing sadness. If you haven’t, you must… if only to say you have…
The Passion According To G.H. by Clarice Lispector
An existential crisis which may also be an awakening… by cockroach. ‘Ugly beautiful’ never felt more apposite.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
The science-fiction doyen didn’t just create new worlds but new bodies… with new potentialities. Speculative thinking at the bleeding edge of post-humanism, written some fifty years ago.
Ice by Anna Kavan
Kavan’s anonymous dream spaces bleed reality out of pain rather than character or plot.
Totality and Infinity by Emmanuel Levinas
The “wisdom of love” is as much a metaphysics of the body as of mind. Levinas may still be my favourite philosopher.
The City & the City by China Miéville
It’s never about one thing for Miéville which means he’s never constrained by genre. Calling this a science fiction murder mystery which uses allegory to explore the space of paradox would still miss the point… which may be the point… I wrote about it over here.
The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe
The taste of sand in your mouth, the weight of dunes on your mind.
The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick
Once you’ve entered PKD space it’s hard to leave because you begin to sympathise with the notion that reality is a hoax…
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
The pleasures of drowning in words… I don’t need saving but making the image gives me dry land…
Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille
The pornographic imagination never went away it just reached its limit, saw its own darkness…
The Atrocity Exhibition by JG Ballard
Picturing JG Ballard’s experiments in fragmentation… And here’s some more.
Black Venus by Angela Carter
Carter delivers us to nineteenth century Paris in pursuit of Baudelaire and his lover Jeanne Duval… We find Flowers of Evil, and decomposing love… More seductiveness over here.