Book Review : "The Tormented Mirror"

The Tormented MirrorThe Tormented Mirror by Russell Edson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

MANY years ago, I found Edson's "The Wounded Breakfast" in a used book store and loved it. His crazy-quilt surrealist poems really influenced me in my own writing. He and Donald Bartheleme were my early off-the-rails mentors, though I never met either one.

And so, now I come--belatedly--to "The Tormented Mirror", expecting more of the same delight. Well, life is full of disappointments, isn't it? I'm not sure if it's him that's different, or if it's me, but while this collection had its moments, it dealt too repeatedly with the themes of old men and women, babies, and bodies and bodily functions. Was he getting soft in the head?

To be sure, there are some wonderful lines, like this opener from "The Stuff of Dreams":

"There was a man who had distilled a tiny woman from several dreams."

With disheartening frequency, though, Edson keeps wandering off into stuff about breasts, rectums, "deltas" and so on. It had me picturing some fogey in the rest home, writing this stuff down, contemplating his regular-or-irregularity, and waiting for 4 o'clock so he could eat Salisbury steak in front of "Matlock" in the day room.

Not really recommended.

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Sioux Roslawski said…
The salisbury steak and Matlock image--too funny.