Non sequitur. There is a kind of delightful peculiarity in this Latin expression – perhaps because the language that expresses the the notion of non-continuity has the acrid sonority of an extinct language. Latin and Greek enunciations, in general, evoke (at least in me) this sense of speaking the language of the dead, as if through a complicated linguistic hallucination some living individual who expresses himself using Latin as a medium becomes in a talking, walking corpse. And since we are dealing with linguistic hallucination and non-sequitur, nothing is more appropriate than dealing with The Metapheromenoi, Brendan Connell's spectacular novel, recently released in sumptuous editing by Mount Abraxas.
But what is The Metapheromenoi (literally, "The Transported Ones")? Well, the first page of the Mount Abraxas edition provides a clue to the core of the narrative: "A Novel of Degeneracy and Dope." It is a fragmentary journey through different forms of distortion of the usual perspectives, which make mimetic shadow of reality palatable to its occasional visitor, the reader. Each of the segments of the novel (called "Dyserotes”, literally "the unfortunate”, the first in The Metapheromenoi series) seems to follow the long non sequitur path, but there is something like a unifying principle in all segments: the mimetic reality of reading is slowly and subtly unraveling, so the fabric employed to unify fantasy and make it an experience close to reality can no longer sustain the tension that should be minimized to a casual reading, not haunted by the fragmentary perception of the whole. It is an effect remarkably close to hallucination, natural or drug induced; The Metapheromenoi, in this sense, is one of the most lysergic experiences ever conceived in narrative terms. But it is much more than that; there is a profound irony throughout the book. This irony is firmly, programmatically established in another of the initial paratexts, this time the dedication: "May the filth within these pages provide you with nourishment, so that you may twelve and dream away your farcical resentment." Although not as good as the dedication of Connell at the beginning of Cannibals of West Papua, such fierce note makes clear the ironic, strategic operations in the hallucinatory fields evoked by fragmentation, by nightmare images, by breaking expectations, by stylistic disarticulation, by confrontation of forms (drama, scripting for film treatment, vignette, conte cruel, poetry). It is a narcotic text streams (expressionist, decadent, or perhaps degenerate), using by Greek expressions as titles – a method that, far from endowing the work with snobbish exhibitionism, serve to carving new scars of eerie evocation, as a dead language spoken by the living person.
On the other hand, we must highlight the editorial work of Mount Abraxas. Imposing, as usual, though opting in this case for dominant soft pink tones – faint colors, whose contrast with narrative decadent style establishes a kind of very welcome visual paradox. It would be excessive if the book's layout followed an overly dreary aesthetic principle. And the volume format, following the pattern of the latest editions of Mount Abraxas, is magnificent. It's like reading a short novel on a movie screen – the breadth of the margins, the size of the font on each page, seems to allow the imagination to expand itself to the taste of the images constructed by the narrative. And in the case of The Metapheromenoi, a novel full of disconcerting images, such an editorial solution is an amazing achievement.
Photos by Dan Ghetu.