Author: Jack Remick
Copyright: ©1994 by Jack Remick
Cover Illustration:©1994 by Gordon Wood
Publisher: Black Heron Press, Seattle
Available for Purchase: Amazon.com
Author Note: This collection has puzzled a lot of people. I got a full page review in the San Francisco Book Review, but the reviewer hated the book. I’ve always asked myself–why did he bother to review it? Full page color copy of the cover too. Of the reviewers only the guy at The Review of Contemporary Fiction got the link back to Ovid, Greek Myth, and Apuleius. I mean if Zeus as a swan doesn’t have his way with Leda does Yeats ever get to this:
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill, He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
“This Seattle-based press [Black Heron] usually publishes unremarkable fiction by working-class types. You know that movie where Dennis Hopper says “Just because it happened to you, doesn’t mean that it’s worth reading about”? … So I was very surprised by this fairly interesting and unclassifiable book by Jack Remick. It’s a mystery who Remick is, but who cares? In these stories, Remick writes of a fictional world part everyday life, part myth, part religious text, part hippy dippy, and part science fiction.
Some of the characters appear and reappear in these eleven stories, and often they change between human and animal. The whole tone is secretly literary and resonant of Ovid and Apuleius. Many of these stories take place in Europe and the characters are often searching for something elusive. In “Python,” two guys cut out someone’s heart and one of them eats it. I love it! In another, a man is eaten alive by cockroaches and man and roach fuse into one. Well, all right. “Lizard” is about Max, an immortal person who kills lizards all of his days. In the meantime, Max is being seduced by Molly. Later, they have a kid.
Another colorful character is Monika, who is a heavy metal goddess. That appeals to some of us trapped in the 1970s. Maybe this book is eventually a period piece of that decade? All the people in Remick’s world live in their dreams, and the dreamworld for them is real. Max’s search for all these animals, his fathering a child, lead him to his encounter with the Androgyne. Remick creates a strange world, familiar too, with people grappling with the mysteries of birth, death, and growth.”