By Jove, this is a classy piece of writing. Part fantasy, part science fiction, and all mental, it’s one of those books written with a flourish that makes you glad to be literate.
The Vorrh is about a forest, and yet not about a forest. It’s about the way the forest affects people, and what happens to them once they’ve been in the Vorrh. It’s also about Eadweard Muybridge, the bloke who invented the Zoopraxiscope, and about a living cycloptic marionette with a taste for rumpy-pumpy, and a race of anthropophagi with no heads and one eye in the middle of their chests. There’s a train in it as well. Plus, some rather boisterous characters flipping between filial devotion and obsessive mania. Quite frankly, it’s ruddy marvellous, and coming straight after The Gone Away World it’s rather cheered me up as far as my literary meanderings are concerned.
After the double-barrelled shite of All Out War about Brexit written entirely from a Tory arse-lickers perspective (it’s meant to be factual, but it’s more a love letter to the right-wing) and the hideousness that was A Little Life, I was getting a tad jaded that anything new and interesting could gird my oyster. There’s been a couple of decent books, sure, but most of them have been mere fripperies with half thought out ideas and not enough bollocks or literary interest to keep me nailed to the page. I had to resort to digging up wistful nostalgia like The Island to give me the book-edged boost to my scholarly wanderings, but then the double knacker-punch of these two works of imagination have put me right on track again.
Anyway, enough of this poncy meanderings. The Vorrh’s got the lot – fleshed out characters, believably nutty scenes, philosophical musings which don’t come out of a Christmas cracker – as well as a turn of phrase groovy enough to make Alan Moore shit his caks, so it’s good job the Bearded One likes the book as he slaps a quote on the cover. No matter how intertwined the narrative gets, you always feel like you’re slap-bang in the middle of the atmosphere, and genuinely surprises on occasions. The plot, despite being mad, somehow seems to make perfect sense within the context of the story. There’s nothing shoe-horned in here as in The Trees, with the beardy-weirdy moments a mere add-on to a pretty mundane plot – everything which happens ends up happening for a reason, and all the more psychedelic elements all coalesce to make a big, meaty whole. A fantastic piece of work.
Another one of those books I can’t recommend enough.
One more point – no matter how strange the story gets, it always seems to… make sense, somehow. It all seems normal, and yet, if you read it, there’s no possible way any of it could seem logical or right. Genius.