View Full Version : M John Harrison

21-04-2014, 03:02 PM
Just got one of his books called Anima. It's essentially two novelettes, the first of which is called The Course of the Heart. It's a beautifully written novel whose main theme is regret mixed with some off-stage occultism. The whole thing is tinged with melancholy and a kind of hovering menace which may be from the rituals which the protagonists appear to have taken part in, or may be due to the illness of one of the main characters, or then again it could simply arise from the grey washed-out England in which the whole story takes place. The book is bleak and at times nails characters and actions with a precision that could be called cruel... and yet there is something I can't quite grasp which redeems this slightly, albeit possibly just as a kind of great sadness.
I've looked up several reviews/explanations of the book and it seems that there are a number of interpretations although I can't really buy into the most radical ones I've read. I would be keen to know if anyone has read the book though and what their take is of if anyone has read any of his other stuff. I know Woops has read Light so maybe I'll check that later. At the moment I'm just this minute embarking on the second story in Anima.

22-04-2014, 06:41 AM
My SF-loving friend rates him very highly. Been hearing his name more and more: sounds like one to check out!

22-04-2014, 02:29 PM
Not such a huge fan. Read some of his stuff years ago and liked it, but gave up on the 'light' trilogy.

22-04-2014, 09:34 PM
I'm a huge fan of Light, (bar the final line). I could talk your ear off about it, but maybe I'll spare you until you've read it. I can lend it to you if you want? I have had Anima sitting unread on my shelves for years. Like a lot of my favourite writers, I think Harrison writes incredible prose. He manages to evoke unseen, just-hinted-at feelings and moods, almost emotions that don't actually exist apart from as side products of his writing. I can't explain better than that. I would really like to read his book about climbing. I read a brilliant interview with him talking about the macho obsessiveness in the sport.

Light is in short, I think about fear and alienation, rather than speculative future forecast wizardry. But then again, I don't know if any SF is about that these days.