Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

‘Bright Morning’ by Jeffrey Ford

with 2 comments

My novels are fantasy/adventure stories with a modicum of metaphsyical whim-wham that some find to be insightful and others have termed “overcooked navel gazing”. Granted, there are no elves or dragons or knights or wizards in these books, but they are still fantasies, none the less. I mean, if you have a flying head, a town with a panopticon that floats in the clouds, a monster that sucks the essense out of hapless victimes through their ears, what the hell else can you call it?

A unnamed writer who seems much like Jeffrey Ford is writing a story called ‘Bright Morning’, inspired by a lost Kafka of the same name. Later a writer called Jeffrey Ford does show up as the unnamed writer’s rival. With so recursive a plot it could easily have been overcooked nazel gazing but it is so perfectly controlled that it is actually the finest stories in the collection by some margin. Ford blends autobiography, writer’s memoir and literary criticism with an almost pulpish piece of modern folklore to produce a beautifully measured story that exists in the cracks of what is real and what is not.

This is how you should do it, Benjamin Rosenbaum.

Quality: *****
Slipperiness: ****

Ford on slipstream in an interview with Matt Cheney:

Fictional hybrids are always more powerful than genre purebreds — they are more resilient, they have the potential to surprise, the power to escape the gravitational attraction of tradition. Until, of course, they themselves become accredited purebreds, as is now happening with what some call “slipstream”.

Part of Feeling Very Strange

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Written by Martin

18 October 2008 at 12:50

2 Responses

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  1. [...] a comment » Kafka is a mighty presence in ‘Bright Morning’. I was particularly amused by the opening section in which Jeffrey Ford talks of references to [...]

  2. [...] recursive loop of pure tedium. Of course, rules are made to be broken; consider Ford’s superb ‘Bright Morning’. Di Filippo’s story of a SF writer with writer’s block, on the other hand, falls [...]


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