#BookChat ‘Mud’ by Chris McCabe and published by Henningham Family Press

‘Remind me never to date a wizard’

BLURB

Borak and Karissa must search the 24 types of mud until they find a trapped bubble of air. Only then can they be released from their relationship.

Chris McCabe’s macabre version of Orpheus and Eurydice brings its themes into the present day as we follow a couple whose quest forces them to resist throttling each other, and falling in love all over again.

Illustrated with Orphic sculptures and prints.

My thoughts

mud (noun)

1.
soft, sticky matter resulting from the mixing of earth and water:
“ankle deep in mud, we squelched across a meadow”
2.
information or allegations regarded as damaging, typically concerned with corruption:
“they are trying to sling mud at me to cover up their defeat”

I was fascinated by this little book called ‘Mud’; the blurb told me to expect a ‘descent into subterranean London’ where our focus characters, Borak and Karissa, would ‘chance upon bones, bricks and a talking mole’ and then the additional hook of a ‘macabre version of Orpheus and Eurydice’. Well okay…

So I popped the book on my kitchen shelf, next to my rather sad (and if my track-record has anything to go by) dying orchid plant. And there it sat…watching my kitchen life go by for weeks, getting the odd splash from a rather vigorous washing up session and absorbing smells of several dinners and the odd burnt pan. Until one day, I had the house to myself, I’d just come in from a cold walk with my dog down the fields, and I’d brought back at least half a bucket of mud back on my shoes. So, I made myself a cup of tea, put my boots on the radiator to dry, left the mud trail to dry and turned to Part One – Break-Up.

There’s no denying, this is an odd little book. It’s also charming. There’re several threads to take hold of during this experimental and somewhat confusing narrative. A journey seeking 24 different types of mud and releasing little bursts of air upon discovery before ending a relationship – it’s a surreal theatre watched by a small film crew following Borak and Karissa. It’s a stage of mud, tunnels, caves and roots; told via narrative, dialogue, snippets, images and emails.

Overall, there’s a distinct story-line to follow, but it’s consistently interjected with the surreal, the bizarre, the strange. It’s a creative literary puzzle, pushing language and imagery to question. An odd little, artistic puzzle of a book.

…and there my review of this little book sat, in my drafts…until a pesky, deadly virus contained me to my house, and where I realised, with horror, that this post wasn’t actually published. Well, finally I’ve posted and hope you’ll pick up this surreal little piece of literature one day and start traipsing through the mud with Borak and Karissa.

With thanks to Henningham Family Press for the gifted copy! I got there at last!

Mud