DFL’S COMMENTS ON ‘ODALISQUE’ BY PF JEFFERY
Chapter 8 - Destinations
Onward with Tuerqui’s rite of passage in captivity, spiritually, salaciously, politically. A real fantasy flavour to this chapter, with shifting visions – perhaps symbolic of the novel itself strobing between truth and untruth ... between faith and fabrication. Beautifully told, as ever. And we meet one of the big name players of the story towards the end of the chapter.
No typos or queries this time! Damn!
Some snippets I took a fancy to:
It was hard to sleep that night, settled on the ground without any form of bedding. The proximity of the Badlands – and realisation that we were to cross them the following day – added to the difficulty. It became cold during the night, and we girls drew closer for warmth – and comfort, I’m sure. Before dawn, we were in one big cluster, struggling restlessly as slaves attempted to avoid the perimeter.
Abruptly, I stepped from the mist. Before me was a barren greyish expanse – undoubtedly the Grey Plain – and such had been my expectation. What the name did not imply was that it would surge and roll as though it were the sea. For the moment, I was more concerned with a sensation like sea sickness than with the unnaturalness of what should have been solid ground behaving thus.
 This must have been an effect of breathing the hallucinatory vapour as Tuerqui crossed the Doubtful Ridge. Accounts of journeys in the opposite direction report similar things of the Cracked Meadow – and the innocent farmlands beyond.
Soon I was in a strange dream world where things that might have been slave boys vanished whenever I tried to look at them.
An impression that refused to be dismissed was of the plants having been tortured into unnatural forms. Years later, my friend Passibelle told me that this was precisely correct – that the mad torment composer Calline Smith had spent several years inflicting pain upon Badlands vegetation.
 Calline Smith (YD 529-572) was a torment composer, of whom strange stories are told. The story of plant torment is recounted at length in Doreen Harkness’ Lives of the Composers, although she gives it no credence. Presumably, nothing of the sort ever existed – and none of Smith’s scores survive. Rabbit Wood now seems to be an unremarkable tract of woodland.
Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.
The links to all Chapter comments by me are here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2008/06/odalisque.html
Posted by: newdfl on 7/2/2008 10:38:08 AM , 4 comments
No typos or queries? Either you were less alert whilst reading the chapter or I was more alert whilst writing it. I wonder which (I hope the latter).
This is the chapter Rog Calenture plans to publish in a magazine.
The big name player to whom you refer reappears in Chapter 10 -- but her chief moment in the book isn't until Chapter 49.
Has Rog got the 'Odalisque' chapter or the 'Of Bondlings & Blesh' chapter?
He has both. I said I'd prefer him to print the "Odalisque" one. He was talking of illustrating it, too. But it seems a long while since I last heard from him. I'm not sure what's happening about it.
Checking, I find that Rog last contacted me on 11th June(!!). Amongst other things he said:
"If you’d prefer that the revised Chapter 8 be published instead of the earlier version, let me know."
To which I responded (on 12th June) with:
"If possible, I'd prefer you to use the revised version of Chapter 8. (Unless doing so involves you in too much work.)"
I haven't heard from him since then. Maybe I should send him another email.