by Michelle Elvy
This is a magical story created by a magical mind. No-one other than author Michelle Elvy could have created the everrumble. It is unique.
In order to simply enjoy how the author casts words and creates worlds a reader must suspend all expectations of a linear story. This is a book of prose that follows no traditional structure but rather creates its own.
A child closes the world out by hiding under a woven blanket and she stops speaking. We suspect a terrible trauma causes this, but it is not spelt out, not dwelt on. Instead we enter her world and see, hear, smell it through her heightened senses.
We get a sense of the trauma, but it is not dwelt on. Instead the reader is taken into a wonderland of the imagination.
The reader is never certain whether Zettie chooses to never speak or something physiological has taken her voice. But the fact that she never makes a sound and only speaks using words on a page encourages the reader to engage all the other senses with her. We hear sounds and they come to us from far away. Our minds circumnavigate the globe with Zettie. We hear ocean sounds, voices from the earth and the songs of creatures bursting through the baobab. (103)
The book is written as a diary with dates for each story. However, like everything about this book the layout contradicts the true definition of a diary. The pages are not in date order but appear to be randomly uplifted from a previous record. This creates a sense of each piece being especially gift wrapped for the reader.
Every piece of prose is no more than three pages in a slim volume giving the reader time to savour the word crafting and the ambience of the book.
Purity for example is just a bit over a page long.
This is an extract: Have you ever heard the sleep of a child? It is the colour of soft melon, the smell of freshly mown grass. (85)
This made me think of a sleeping child in a completely new way. Surely, the role of the true artist is to do just what Michelle Elvy has done – open the reader’s mind to seeing the world in a new way.
Along with the pieces of prose there are intricate pen and ink drawings by Eyayu Genet from Ethiopia. They add a mystical mood to this delightful book.
Author: Michelle Elvy
Publisher: Ad Hoc Fiction
Available: Paper: https://www.nationwidebooks.co.nz/product/the-everrumble-9781912095735; ebook for kindle via Amazon