This is the second piece of work I have read by D Harlan Wilson with the first being his short collection, They Had Goat Heads, which was fantastic. Wilson is an exceptional author. He is the thinking man’s bizarro writer. So when the opportunity to read his newest book, Diegeses came about I jumped at the chance and sure enough I was not disappointed.
The book is split into two halves. The first half is The Bureau of Me. Here we have Curd, a business man of some sort who is being pursued by agents of the Bureau. Basically Curd is an asshole, a drunk, and he may be delusional.
The second half of this book is The Idaho Realty. Again Curd stars in this portion but as a soap opera star. He’s still an asshole, shown best by his lack of desire to dress according to wardrobe or even to learn his lines. Showing up to film scenes in a long sleeve shirt, slacks, and flip flops, he wears a sign around his neck explaining to the audience what he is supposed to be wearing. The lines start to blur between what is the TV show and what he believes is reality.
I’m not going to pretend that I can fully wrap my head around what Wilson is saying with this book. His writing is surreal and abstract. His imagery is amazing and his stories will grab hold of you and refuse to let go until you reach that last page. And even then they still have their claws imbedded in your brain. His work isn’t easy to just finish and walk away from. I thought about re-reading Diegeses after I was finished. I guarantee I missed some things on my first read. So far I haven’t read anything like D. Harlan Wilson, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my two ventures into his books. I believe anyone who is a fan of his work will not be disappointed by his latest effort. And to anyone looking to try Wilson’s brand of bizarre writing this would be a fine book to start with.
Buy it here Diegeses
I spoke in another review that I am not a big fan of the short short fiction, but that doesn’t stop me from reading it. This was the first book I had read from D. Harlan Wilson, and it does contain a couple pieces are of the short short variety, but this book was superb. After reading it my first thought was ‘why have I waited so long to check this author out.’ Thirty-nine stories packed into one hundred and forty-six pages, these streams of conscience pieces will take you places you haven’t been before, and some of those places may scare you.
Collections like this are hard to review, the stories jump all across the board and range in many shapes and sizes. A couple really great pieces from this are Whale – with a surprise alternate (happy) ending which has a father taking his daughter to a pet shop for a goldfish but decide to check out the whale room instead. The Arrest, where one man tries to arrest another man, but that man disagrees and tries to arrest the first man. And then things get crazy weird. The story that I liked the most was The Sister, which featured illustrations by Skye Thorstenson. The images added a whole new layer to Wilson’s words that took the story to a whole new level. The collaboration is absolutely brilliant.
This book is one of the best things that I have read this year. It’s still early in the year but They have Goat Heads is going to be very hard to top. This collection is the reason I started reading the Bizarro genre. These stories are absurd, surreal, un-real, and well crafted. In all the Bizarro I have read I had not yet read anything like this before, I will definitely be reading more by Wilson.
Buy it on here They Had Goat Heads on Amazon