Timothy J. Jarvis

Writer of Antic Fiction


I’m pleased to announce I’ve a piece in Booklore, an anthology about the passion for books, forthcoming from Zagava Press.

The anthology is edited by Jonas Ploeger and Alcebiades Diniz Miguel, and features illustrations by Erika Seguín Colás. The other contributors are: Carl Abrahamsson, Avalon Brantley, Brian Catling, Andrew Condous, Brendan Connell, Quentin S. Crisp, Richard Gavin, Martin Hayes, Colin Insole, Andrew Liles, Chris Mikul, Daniel Mills, Damian Murphy, Reggie Oliver, Thomas Phillips, Ray B. Russell, Michael Siefener, Charles Schneider, Thomas Stromsholt, Supervert, Mark Valentine, Paul Wallfisch, D.P. Watt, Ron Weighell and Jonathan Wood.

My contribution is a kind of fictocritical essay about my encounter with Walter Owen’s novel, ‘More Things in Heaven…’. Owen was an early twentieth-century writer and mystic, a correspondent of M.P. Shiel’s, and one of the Counts of the Island of Redonda, Shiel’s strange fiefdom. Though Scottish by birth, he lived most of his life in Buenos Aires and is better remembered for his translations of Argentinian Gaucho epics than for his original fiction and essays. But ‘More Things in Heaven…’ is unjustly forgotten: a very strange, often brilliantly written, theosophical novel. But it is said to be cursed, and readers are maybe chary of this. And uncanny things certainly happened to me after I read it…

‘I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. That is my belief.’ (Franz Kafka in a letter to his friend Oskar Pollak, 27. January 1905)

The anthology can be ordered directly from Zagava.

Uncertainties: Twenty-Two Strange Tales

Following this announcement, on the occasion of the birthday of the editor, the estimable Brian J. Showers, I can announce that I have a short story in the anthology, Uncertainties: Twenty-Two Strange Tales, forthcoming from Dublin’s Liberties Press. I’m elated to be sharing a table of contents with so many of my favourite writers of strange fiction.

Here’s how Brian has described the book:
Uncertainties is an anthology of new writing – featuring contributions from Irish, British, and American authors – each exploring the idea of increasingly fragmented senses of reality. These short stories were termed ‘strange tales’ by Robert Aickman, called ‘tales of the unexpected’ by Roald Dahl, and known to Shakespeare’s ill-fated Prince Mamillius as ‘winter’s tales’. But these are no mere ghost stories. These tales of the uncanny grapple with existential epiphanies of the modern day, and when otherwise familiar landscapes become sinister and something decidedly less than certain . . .’

My story, ‘Flyblown’, concerns the disappearance of a young woman and its connection to a disturbing image seen at night in the window of an all-but-abandoned photography studio.