“You will agree: had you always the right book to hand, oh what reading you would have done!”
It’s only fitting that right after I post my take on The Beautiful Book Covers Tag, I stumble across the striking cover for Worlds from the Word’s End, designed and illustrated by Roman Muradov:The detailed art structure sets the tone for what to expect in Worlds from the Word’s End. A swift collection of short stories that (for the most) get straight to the point was exactly the kind of read I was seeking.
From a freewheeling story on cycling (and Freud), to a country in which words themselves fall out of fashion, to a bookshelf (‘Bookselves’) full of unread books coming to life to judge you.
“Something you never thought might happen: after a certain number of years the being who has read all these neglected books will step from your bookshelves, will sit down at your table (conveniently adjacent), will make a cup of coffee at the machine, having seen you use it so many times, especially when about to tackle a book, and will light a cigarette, insubstantial as steam, the odour of which will affect neither your carpets nor curtains. It will be the opposite of you, your inverse.”
Love of books is quietly present throughout the collection.
Another noteworthy story takes on the saying “Actions speak louder than words,” as language crumbles around them.
“You like women who are quiet? In the end it was not so difficult to let you go: you were only interested in the sound of your own voice. ”
The most memorable piece for me.
“I prefer Departures to Arrivals, by which time everything has already happened. Even as dawn approaches in long lozenges of broken light, Arrivals do not notice the beautiful station. They look down, headed for something known, for home, for bed. Of course some are met, but fewer than you would think, and they don’t stick around. Heroics are reserved for Departures: brave looks, last embraces, minutes slowed by kisses.”
But save for the two stories above that I enjoyed most, the nineteen tales in here are all over the place. The incoherent narrative (or lack thereof) became bothersome overtime, especially for the shorter pieces. They didn’t pack a punch and were remarkably mediocre, so much so that you’d forget what it was about the minute you moved on to the next piece.
Though I was looking for short stories that were quick and precise, Worlds from the Word’s End seemed to only deliver on the quick part.
Bottom line: I was drawn to the cover and that’s the best to have come out of this collection for me.