Falling Through the Architect

K. M. Ross. Falling Through the Architect. ISBN 0-476-01578-2. Auckland: The Writers Group, September 2005.

Blurb from Crywolf Books:

Welcome to the dark machinery: to a meticulously-detailed Edinburgh in the year 1992, where a Fruitmarket delivery boy is about to take the shop van to an address that appears not to exist at all.

The machine, the random play of hazard, will introduce him into another environment altogether: a sleazy dive of a flat in a tenement block on Causewayside named Rochelle Place.

There Fian, the Buddha-girl, lives a life of pure serenity. There the Australian Steve acquires money by his grey-market dealing in computer parts. There nothing is exactly what it seems: neither the people, nor this environment itself; and the boy through his own unsuspecting openness is quickly drawn in to a cat's cradle of the strangest forces and desires.

And above it all, The Architect moans on, self-proclaimed creator and maintainer of every minutest detail of the process of event, hovering like an unthinkable whale-form in and through and over the universe. YHVH, the Lord, our God – or so he claims.

He tells a frightening story of origins beyond imagination, of the secret origin and motivation of his own act of Creation. Ranting and rhyming away, he builds on hooks and preoccupations from the minds of each of the human characters.

While the relations of Bob and Fian and Steve build from crisis to crisis, from sex to violence to mental breakdown, we have to wonder: where are these God-texts coming from? Are they someone's black tormented dream? ... Or some psychological weaving-together, the roar of the composite?

... Or could this be the voice of the machine itself, that great Design, so huge that its relevance is not to humans, through which they tumble helplessly like a race of pinballs, fortuitously clashing and connecting and falling away again?

We are falling, falling, through vectors, frighteningly precise — drawn by what kind of hand?

Reviews & Comments:

  1. Bill Direen, "Falling or Flying: Review of Falling Through the Architect." brief 35 - A brief world order (2007): 103-4. [Available at: Reading the Maps (4 May 2007)]:

    As printed characters rely for meaning on the space immediately around them and upon other characters among which they exist in a work, Falling through the Architect realises its central narrative by means of oscillating but complementary narratives (or “anti-narratives”).

    We are continually reminded of the novel’s textual nature: the ‘story’ in plain font is counterpoised by an unidentified voice in bold font which, as the boldness of the font accentuates, reads as a kind of tirade.

    A "plain" narrative depicts the intersecting life-stories of several persons, into whose minds the writer enters at will. There is an accessible realism here. This is a story full of hard social facts, which relies on a careful geography inseparable from its erotic subterfuge. On the social front alone it is a valuable reflection of current Edinburgh mores and language usage. The “Scottishness” of the terrain is neatly blurred by the city's multi-cultural element, while the diversity of its inhabitants is unified by the acquired “Scots” of some of their dialogue (and the author’s deftness in this area). The street-plans and the plans of the interiors are particularly detailed and necessarily so, since, as we read, as we become more intimate with the text, physical reality becomes less physical! The eroticism, overtly heterosexual, ranges from battering roughness to mysterious finger signals or catastrophic onanism, and is present at various levels, sometimes violent.

    The "bold" tirade draws on many sources — mystical, lyrical and musical. Its nature was not, at first, clear to me. I wanted to know how the alternating sequences related to each other, and what the ultimate design of the author was. Soon, questioning itself began to take on the form of an answer. After trying multiple-choice (‘Is the tirade the voice of more than one character, of a combined god-author character, or of a single fictional multi-facetted entity or design?’) I tried letting go all preconceived notions of ‘voice’ and allowed the tirade to issue from a sort of Negativeland, an alternative time-space continuum which, like the white between the ink of the text, rubs up against everyday lives, the hard-copy of our primary stories. And then...?

    Then K.M Ross really began to fly!.

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