A brilliant resurrectionist raid on the past as it should have unfolded. Mark Blacklock breathes new life into the tropes of detective fiction, occult mathematics and forensic science. He makes new mysteries out of re-forgotten enigmas
I found this a dazzling display of extraordinary ideas and strange historical facts brought together in a technique that disrupts ordinary notions of time, space, and causality. And that is appropriate to its subject which is the relation between the outer reaches of mathematical (actually, geometrical) speculation and mystical or theosophical ideas current around the end of the nineteenth century. Though it's a subject far beyond my expertise, I took from the novel the idea that this was the intellectual background in which Einstein was about to discover a baffling new theory about the relation of space and time. The ruling metaphor is the search for the unknown, the exotic, and the hidden: Europeans in Meiji Japan, prospecting for minerals in the Americas, the truth about a father's scandalous past, etc. The many threads of narrative from different times and places are woven together in such a way that the reader is impelled by the same curiosity that drives the principal characters. It is an extraordinary achievement
From the Same Author
In this provocative novel Mark Blacklock portrays the true and complex history of John Humble, aka Wearside Jack, the Ripper Hoaxer, a timewaster and criminal, sympathetic and revolting, the man hidden by a wall of words, a fiction-spinner worthy of textual analysis. In this remarkable work, John Humble leads the reader into an allusive, elusive labyrinth of interpretations, simultaneously hoodwinking and revealing.
I’m Jack is a riveting novel about truth, lies, prison and shame. It is also a profound and furious love letter to Sunderland. It is a puzzle, a hoax, a multi-voice portrait and a virtuoso assemblage of textual elements. I’m Jack announces the arrival of a radically talented and innovative novelist.
Mark Blacklock on Granta.com
Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition
The Paternoster: A Requiem
‘To step into a paternoster lift is to step into the circulatory system of a building, to become a part of its very structure.’