Monday, 8 March 2010

New review of Small Poisons by author Daniel Abelman

Small Poisons, written by Catherine Edmunds, is an organically grown story sprayed with esoteric dementia.

The y chromosomes grasping tenaciously at misinterpreted reality -- the Dad's donation, and the x chromosomes gurgling with a psychopathic tendency to play at wielding butcher's knives, being Mom's contribution -- the offspring stand little chance of being normal. Beyond his years, the younger son dabbles in different personalities while the elder brother struggles socially with stupidity and a bulimia for cyber-porn; he is somewhat behind in years. All is less than hunky-dory when matters take a turn with the visitation of a Garden Demon. A handsome fellow with exotic terrorist eyes, under whose influence the familial flagons of individual mental inadequacies burst, splashing from one to the other. The froth turns contagious; a singular non-specific meld of composting madness now takes a hold, spreading to all members of our unhappy little family. To make matters worse, if possible, the Demon who is having an affair [yes an affair] with a beetle [yes a beetle] is a poet. A bad one.

The book is dedicated to Charles Ross. Charles Ross is a variety of apple tree. Surprisingly weird? Weird is not the word, though soon all becomes crystal unclear as the story zig-zags between house and garden. Inside and outside juxtaposed; flora and fauna capable of intelligent thought and herbaceous souls with a collective conscience and a philosophical bent, contrasting with the humans tamped in a mire of pretentious earthiness. Not surprising is the full suspension of disbelief as Edmunds skilfully brings intelligent interaction between all life forms. Step aside Mr Kipling and his pack of wolves -- over here even the blades of grass have an opinion that counts.

With a plethora of bugs and weeds and bushes and birds, all individual characters in the garden masterly developed, a theme-song most fitting for the tale could be: English Country Garden.

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
How many insects come here and go
How many songbirds fly to and fro

Whistle the tune softly to imbue confidence as you venture out -- there may well be a Garden Demon in your apple tree.

How all is resolved is of lesser importance, as to travel hopefully through Small Poisons is better than to arrive. It's worth reading to find out, though. Definitely.

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