This is a book with serious depth. I am already fifty pages into my second read of it, because I just know that there are things I didn’t quite get the first time round. When We Are Vanished is a beautiful, quietly kaleidoscopic piece of work. It has the feeling of a fever dream just before waking, when sleep logic and waking logic meet for a few moments. It also has a wonderful, sometimes sharp sense of humour that runs through the entire book and that had me chortling to myself at more than one point.
The story is set in a world where computers stopped working. In fact, all silicon-based tech is now useless. Most of the plot takes place some years after this has become the norm, and everything is crumbling away and being reclaimed by nature. The remaining people soldier on through the new…
Confession: I’ve killed people. Sometimes meticulously, sometimes casually, nearly always brutally and most probably unnecessarily. Worse – I made money from it, initially felt overjoyed by the simple thrill of opting out of ‘the rat race’ with this new, exciting and often ‘sought after’ lifestyle.
‘Sought after’? Allow me to explain… Twenty-years ago I was a crime-writer, and had a series of what were termed at the time ‘psychological thrillers’ or ‘why-dunnits’ published by HarperCollins. The theme was ‘suburban bleak’. Living on the outskirts of London, I was able to swap the daily commute into the capital for a fictional ‘life of crime’. I was in my early thirties, blinded by the dubious lights of success and just about able to scrape a living by simply doing what I enjoyed the most – writing.
Friends at the time were envious, some wrongly assuming I was somehow fabulously wealthy (I wasn’t…
In the last week, there have been three separate sightings of the missing O’Stoats. Archibald Buckets claims to have seen them in the graveyard. Serendipity and Felicitations Jones both report seeing the pair walking at twilight on Hunger Hill. Jed Grimes tells me he woke in the night and saw Durosimi O’Stoat stood beneath his window, staring up at him.
Are these ghosts? Hauntings seem to be on the increase, so this is a possibility. Are they alive and in hiding? The weather has made any serious searching impossible. Given the horrific fate of their son Drustan, these two are not to be trusted, and if you see them, do not approach them on your own. They are very likely dangerous. Hopefully in time we will have opportunity to see justice served to this unnatural pair.
The evening was crisp with an unusually clear sky, which may be why we had one of the best 12th Night turnouts for many years. Torches and masks made a dramatic show as we paraded around the town centre, and the traditional dance was a great success. I know there are some who want to modernise the event with lively tunes, but the traditional, mournful dances and slow airs have a certain majesty that suits the dark time of the year.
It’s a sales extravaganza at Millet’s Fabric Store this week. Two gloves for the price of one! Recycled handkerchiefs at half price! By two shrouds, get a third for free! Experienced tailoring for all your needs. Stop by and see what we have on offer.
Work to lay the foundations for Balthazar Lemon’s bridge to the mainland hit a setback. The small headland to the south of the harbour had been determined as the best spot, facing where our brightest thinkers understand the mainland to be. However, this small headland turned out not to be rock, as first imagined. Excavations to put down support posts revealed wood. Work on the bridge has stopped because all of those involved were far more interested in finding out what this buried wood is from, than in building the bridge. Your humble editor is not a man of science, but feels the future should take precedent over the past.
Man hours have been lost in digging up the sandbank. This work has revealed the remains of a ship. A large one, as far as can be ascertained, although the vast majority remains buried. Already tales are flying around, filling the wreck with imagined treasures. I would like to assure readers that based on my observations, the ship is filled with mud, slime and old seaweed.
Plans to lay the bridge foundations are delayed, but I have been assured the work will continue.
I trust that you all enjoyed a merry Christmas. The midnight mass was especially atmospheric this year, the wind around the church producing a sound uncannily like a child crying. Twenty graves have been dug to see us through the winter – a conservative estimate I fear. For the wellbeing of your community, do not undertake to die before the thaw, if you can possibly help it!