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Black Static

New Horror Fiction BLACK STATIC 82/83 OUT NOW

The Late Review: A Suite in Four Windows

31st Jan, 2023

Author: Peter Tennant

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Another chapbook from Snuggly Books, David Rix's novella A Suite in Four Windows is inspired by George Crumb's Black Angels: Thirteen Images from the Dark Lands which four music students who live in the same building have been tasked with analysing. And by way of getting into the right mood for this review, I listened to the piece on YouTube (link below). It wasn't as discordant as I'd expected from reading the novella, rather melodic in fact, like early Tangerine Dream (Atem in particular).

The novella opens with a Prelude in which the four - Carrie, Terry, Mix, and Kate, plus her partner Tom - are in a drinking club on the hottest night of the year and discuss the work among themselves. After that it retires to their shared house, with each trying to make sense of the music while dealing with the feelings it arouses and anticipation of the storm everyone is expecting. Mention should be made of another 'character', Teeth, a crystal lined half-geode that Terry has invested with a personality and talks to. Relationships shift and change, with talk about music and numerology, which influenced Crumb's work, love and jealousy thrown into the mix, while the music plays on all devices throughout the building.

And what a weird trip that was. It is beautifully written, with very clearly defined characters, while the music winds through the whole story, both threatening and epiphanic, colours and numbers informing the whole, and the presence of Teeth adding yet another note that is both minatory and cathartic at the same time, as he speaks the truth that the others avoid. I liked this. I liked the writing and the sense of something ineffable hovering at the edge of the page, the feel of different art forms interacting and enlarging on each other. It's a short work that punches well above its weight, for all of which I can't claim for one minute to have fully understood what it was all about and if there was anything more to it than the chain of events described, interesting enough in their own right, then I'm afraid I'll have to admit to being tone deaf.





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