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  • By Shannon Yarbrough
    Oct 15, 2009
    "Filigree and Shadow - Mick Rooney" I first discovered Mick Rooney’s writing last year when I reviewed his book Academy. Mick kept me posted on his next book, Filigree & Shadow, but I waited so that it could be one of the first books I devoted attention to this year. I knew it would be a book of historical and hypnotic proportion, and Mr. Rooney certainly did not disappoint. He opens with a very honest author’s note which I just have to point out because, to me, it’s like that black screen and bit of silence that makes you hold your breath right before a really good movie you’ve been dying to see is about to start: "We should be honest with each other from the very beginning. I am not a storyteller. The following work makes no attempt to satisfy the modern reader’s obsessive consumption of plot and character. Go no further; I have devoured everything I could find. However, if your appetite is satisfied, and you are interested in the shape, colour, texture of words... More > and ideas, step inside; we have much work to do." An introduction follows, noting that back in 1995 Mick got together with a musician friend and played around with putting his stories to music for a demo tape. Artists he’d been listening to ended up inspiring his very words, as music often does for many of us. The first short story in the book is called “Arcadia,” and it’s more like narrative poetry than a story at all. It’s a dreamy tale of the heavens, mountains, skies, and stars. My only qualm about it was the continuous use of the words “dwindling light” on almost every page. “The Eternal” which follows next is just as elegiac and trance-like. Mick has a way of keeping his sentences short and simple. There’s not a lot going on on the page, but the places he takes you in just a paragraph or two can paint such vivid images behind your eyes. The almost stream-of-consciousness style is unique in that the unknown narrator is telling the story to the characters as if they have been unaware of their own actions…”You did this and went here and you said this.” The narrator is almost demanding and yet with a cadence to his tale that comes quite naturally. A genius story that I would love to hear Mick read out loud. It definitely made me wonder what kind of music he used to record it. My favorite in the anthology is “A Spiraling of Winter Ghosts.” The story is just as haunting as the title suggests as Mick takes the reader in and out of reality along with the central unnamed character. A dwarf is mauled by a circus lion and just a few pages later we are spying on two lovers in an intimate moment. Waves crash against a light house and drown an old man. A pendulum swings, reminiscent of Poe himself and some tale of specters he would weave. Like the stairs on the cover of the book, each piece of the story is different, but the same, and all connected perfectly to reveal an overall theme that almost doesn’t make any sense until you reach the last page. The best way I can describe this book is to use some of Mick’s own words from the very beginning of the story “Children on the Hill.” "Deep into a world of dreams. Real dreams of sail and stillness. Real dreams of uncharted worlds and words. The very dreams which have pulled at the heart of me, age upon age. Deep into those worlds and words where bare thoughts emerge. For so long, they have rested there; hidden away without being born, without a glint of light, without mercy. These real dreams have finally found the light." Read the full review at The Lulu Book Review< Less
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Product Details

First Paperback
November 25, 2008
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.9 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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