Cambridge Book Review

[Issue #5, Fall 2000]

Henry James Discovers Hypertext

By Bob Wake

Strommers arrived at the dining hall, ill of perception [1], yet recalcitrant in regards to donning his spectacles, which having fallen [2] from his face when he alighted from the coach, were now snugly shattered in his coat pocket. Would he even recognize Miss Gostobble [3] if she were somehow early for their appointment? He had walked the gardens of the villa with Miss Gostobble and the twins, Chunny and Boinker [4], in the fading crimson skyward gash [5] that defined the sunset of the previous evening. But now, in this moment, her face was a darkening memory, a gnarled rebus [6].

[1]. "ill of perception." Shadowed, as it were, by a reversal. The surroundings refract a moral glimmer -- illaeso lumine solum -- that he rebuffs.

[2]. "fallen." An Edenic collapse, a gravitas, a downness.

[3]. "Gostobble." Why must I always sabotage my novels with these awkward, silly-sounding names? Gostobble is even worse than Strommers.

[4]. "Chunny and Boinker." Okay, but see I actually once knew a Chunny and Boinker. True, they were Labradors, but I daresay no one -- least of all Chunny and Boinker -- thought the names silly.

[5]. "crimson skyward gash." This would be a sexual metaphor if I had the faintest notion what sex requires of two human beings, or even one human being.

[6]. "gnarled rebus." I don't remember writing this. Isn't a rebus some kind of monkey? Gnarled means all twisty like.


Bob Wake is editor of Cambridge Book Review and author of Caffeine & Other Stories.

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