An Dantomine Eerly
Dark Coast Press, 2010 - 154 pages
As the Irish-American poet Dallin lay dying he recalls the surreal geography and traumatic events that lead to his end.† An absence in a wind-beaten house suggests a past but somehow still-looming tragedy; vacancy fills a ghostly barroom and the campus of a condemned university; city streets and desolated forests are populated by no one except the formulations of Dallin's own mind.† The ailed poet and his beautiful, haunting wife Ažsling flee an obscure political persecution that culminates in her planned murder.† The impact of her death afflicts Dallin in ways he cannot comprehend and spirals him into his meeting with the mythic celestial escort, An Dantomine Eerly.
An Dantomine Eerly is fine experimental writing, using narrative techniques, dream-world symbolism, and a poetic style of prose that takes up John Banville's admittance "to blend poetry and fiction into some new form."† The novel itself is a re-conception of the 17th century Irish poetic form of the aisling, meaning "dream vision" or "vision poem."† As Dallin confronts his moment of death, the book assembles itself as a collage of the affinities, falsehoods, and absurdities of memory and reality.†
Comparisons to pre-discovery Chuck Palahnuik (Fight Club) and early David Foster Wallace (The Broom Of The System) have been made, as well as the influence of older, experimental works.† The result is a stylized exploration of the infinite world through the microscope of Middleton's ill-fated narrator, and above all, a promising debut.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - knittingmomof3 - LibraryThing
From My Blog... My first thought prior to beginning the book was of Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading, a book I recommend to everyone, but I digress. An Dantomine Eerly by J.R.D. Middleton is a work ... Read full review
There is talent hidden under a pile of words.
Mr. Middleton is a competent and creative writer, yet his work is stifled by his overuse of words. Surely, sir, the breadth of your vocabulary is impressive, but your obsession with your own knowledge of the English language buries your real creativity.
This quote from Bibliophibia, I believe sums up not a strength, but where Middleton's writing suffers: "you might not know precisely what the creator meant to say, but it’s still beautiful to look at, and you get the sense that there’s something profound just beyond your grasp." I am not convinced that what the writer means to say is beyond the reader's grasp because his art is so refined. An Dantomine Eerly could have made a brilliant short story, but as a novel it is stretched thin, then filled out with an excess of words. Flowery language is fine, but the author needs to learn to recognize some limits. His work would benefit greatly from more critical editing.
But, I don't want to be entirely critical. Mr. Middleton's mastery of language is apparent. His imagery is capable of being vivid and his prose distinct. I hope that he has learned a lot from publishing his debut and that his work will continue to develop.