The Hortlak

I’m back and newly refreshed from time with family. I’ve almost forgotten how nice it is to have someone bring you food whenever you’re hungry and spend an entire day watching junk tv and hanging out with friends. I’ve also managed to haul back some of my beloved books. I don’t think I got enough of them still, books are so bulky and I was a bit timid with weight constraints on airplanes and what not, but I’m so happy to have what I have.

I haven’t made much more progress in Galatia 2.2. I think the tone is bit dry and the perspective too male (there has got to be a better descriptor than that, but it eludes me right now). I am however rereading Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners, probably my favorite of her three short story collections, although all three are superb.

Right now I’m reading “The Hortlak”, a story about a 24-hour convenience store right at the edge of a chasm where the known world ends. The chasm seems to be the home of zombies who crawl out to visit the convenience store but what they need or want eludes the characters in the story. It’s odd that I only remember one scene from the story from my previous reading…the hydrocephalic cartoon cats carrying children in their mouth that are featured on Batu’s pajamas. I remember looking up the word hydrocephalic….it’s a condition where the brain accumulates fluid and becomes bloated….I remember wondering about these big-headed cats and their intentions. “The Hortlak” is dream-like in quality….the convenience-store may be an allegory for the dream-world or purgatory sandwiched between the living and the dead or in this case the chasm and it’s enigmatic zombies. Eric the clerk is stuck between these worlds. Maybe the entire story is about the languidness and terror of being young. Of having the entire world before you  and all the different paths waiting for you….it is terrible to pick…you could make the wrong choice…you have no idea what you are doing.

I don’t try too hard to decipher Link’s stories…I find over-anlyzation destroys the meaning. I like the ambiguity of them. Today they mean one thing to me…years later they’ll seem different…such is the way of the best writing…it changes with you.

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