GODS OF THE INTANGIBLE (News of the Shaman Review)
by DON JAUCIAN
We see the city in an ambient rush, in the cadence of city lights blurring, souls drowning in the mist. As the sun fades, the night gradually stakes its claim on the individuals that drift in different directions, aimless. In Karl De Mesa’s new book, News of the Shaman, a collection of four novellas, we are shown the underbelly of Manila. Fetid, dark and unabashedly otherworldly, De Mesa’s Manila is a different monster, operating in the same vein as China Mieville’s Bas Lag and Un Lun Dun, as well as containing elements of the weirdness of Jeff Vandermeer’s Ambergis.
Here, we meet fallen angels, fading rockstars, drugged-up photographers and sly creatures of the underworld conducting their affairs. We sit in anticipation of the creatures that would lap up our already terrified imaginations, unfazed by the dread of the murky alleys that de Mesa leads us down... But there are no pasty white ghouls seeking for revenge, only stranded souls stuck on this earth, looking for retribution to for their transgressions.
The interconnected novellas of News of the Shaman weave for us a different perspective of the cities we have come to know. The normalcy of things that we encounter every day never merits our notice: the faces we pass, the voices we hear along the way, and the occasional graze of someone else’s fingers on the commute. Like the characters in the novella, we’re all searching for something that validates our existence.
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Check out Don Jaucian's full book review here.