Review: Kitten by G. Arthur Brown (Eraserhead Press; 2012)

15 Dec

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Kittens who are not kittens who throw up stamps are not as dangerous to one’s sanity as the cat lady living next door with over 20 imaginary cats defecating all over her house. Yet this dead girl who emerged from the trunk of their attic existed because of the grandfather’s experiments.

This whimsical novella is compact, tight, excellently written, and hugely inventive. It also features time travel and is consistently surreal, in the classical school of painters and filmmakers sense.

When a dead boy is used as a puppet on an island run by children, the goofiness that exploded like napalm in the previous 25 or so pages vanished and offered a brief respite and a ray of hope for the more sinister first section of Kitten. There was a medium modicum of darkness during an Alice in Wonderland-driven segue through riddles threatening cracks in comforting logic, the blanket of which we clutch ever so tightly as the moon erupts his warty smile.

There were some interesting quasi metafictional moments as well–an awareness of certain characters coupled with a near willingness to break the fourth wall as they compared the transpiring events to Guy Maddin and Gogol.

In the end, we ride a sleigh backwards and discover the frozen icicle fingers of the ghoul dangling just beside the sleigh’s bells.

Check out more mind-melting work from Arthur G. Brown.

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