Reviews
OLD ALBERT — AN EPILOGUE

by Brian J. Showers
Cover and board illustrations by Duane Spurlock
Frontispiece: "The Song of the Lark" by Arthur Rackham
A Note to the Reader by Jim Rockhill

Ex Occidente Press, June 2011
ISBN: N/A (hardback)
Length: xvi + 62 pages
Edition of 80 (60 of which were offered for sale)


The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls. ~ Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The 6th of September does not bode well for those who dwell in a particular place at a particular time. Patterns have a habit of forming, reshaping and influencing the topography from which they sprout. The residue of decades builds.

The place is Larkhill House, and during its century and a half of existence it has hosted an array of peculiar tenants: the reclusive though brilliant ornithologist Ellis Grimwood; a murderous wine merchant and his young wife; and the Sacred Order of the Mysteries of Thoth, who re-christened Larkhill the "New Temple of Abtiti" and practised there their outlandish and mystical rites. After vacating Larkhill, these individuals—all of them—left something of themselves behind.

Since 1926 the house has played host to St. Mary’s College. And the pupils at Larkhill to this day repeat the same odd schoolyard rhyme known to students of a century past:


If dumb Old Albert calls you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.

If deaf Old Albert hears you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.

If blind Old Albert sees you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.

If dear Old Albert finds you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.



Residue builds . . . and residue infects.

Set in the same haunted neighbourhood as the stories in the award-winning collection The Bleeding Horse, Showers’s new novella, Old Albert — An Epilogue, continues with the idea that not all is well in the leafy Victorian suburb of Rathmines, Dublin.

Brian J. Showers is originally from Madison, Wisconsin. He runs the Swan River Press and has written short stories, articles and reviews for magazines such as Rue Morgue, Ghosts & Scholars, Le Fanu Studies and Supernatural Tales. His short story collection, The Bleeding Horse (Mercier Press), won the Children of the Night Award in 2008. He is also the author of Literary Walking Tours of Gothic Dublin (Nonsuch 2006), and the co-editor of Reflections in a Glass Darkly: Essays on J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Hippocampus Press 2011). He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Contents:

A Note to the Reader by Jim Rockhill

I. Prologue
II. Ellis Grimwood of Larkhill
III. This Terrible, This Unnatural Crime
IV. An Exaltation of Skylarks
V. Thin and Brittle Bones
VI. Come Like Shadows, So Depart

End Notes
Bibliography

Old Albert — An Epilogue is a sewn hardcover book of xvi + 62 pages with dust-jacket, silk ribbon, endpapers and a full-colour frontispiece. Some copies were issued with an inscribed postcard from Rathmines (pictured left).





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