Brussels Writer Counts His Chickens
Italy is a cradle of culture that continues to be a source of inspiration. This autumn take the opportunity to meet the artists on the roads of migration, transformation and social commitment, with Gothic paintings from Siena, contemporary visual art, concerts, theatre, dance, literature and architecture lectures. BOZAR. It includes a performance by diva Cecilia Bartoli on 13 November. Autumn 2014, until 5 December.
Charitic Angels is celebrating its 10th anniversary! Charitic Angels is a non-profit organization created by Sonia Henrion, which raises money through events useful, artistic, sporting and festive in favour of different associations each year. And once more it has organized a Christmas shopping event, running for three days at the end of November.
40 brands and exhibiting artists will gather in place du Chatelain. You can get all your Christmas gifts under one roof – chocolates, clothes, comics, decor, accessories, cosmetics, jewelry, etc. 30% of all sales will be distributed between two Belgian charities, Escalpade and Les Enfants de Salus Sanguinis. Hangar 18, 18 place du Chatelain. 27, 28 and 29 November, 11h00-18h00.
Join them and toast the imminent arrival of Christmas at the Nocturne cocktail night on 27 November at the same venue, from 20h00 to midnight. €20
Pa Weathery’s Chickens by the author, editor and screenwriter Paul Morris is one of the most extraordinary books you’re likely to read in a long time.
We are quickly introduced to SimRarg, a "traveler" of as-yet indeterminate origin, who finds himself in a “body . . . that was not half bad, male, medium height, around twenty-five, handsome enough, fit enough; he would do”, sent by ‘the Engineers’ to Texas, he is tasked with a mission that even he does not understand, one that will change the world forever. November 22 1963, Dallas, 12.32pm. Ring any bells?
Anyway, he has to get the eponymous Pa Weathery onside first, and his slutty siren of a daughter, and, well, his chickens too . . . “You can sleep in the barn but if you so much as lay a finger on my daughter or my chickens, it’s your neck I’ll wring.” And there’s just one more little problem, SimRarg is black. Truly, a stranger in a strange land.
It took me a while to determine exactly what cultural buttons Morris’ yarn pushed, then I realized, while I have always been very interested in JFK conspiracy theories, it is (unwittingly?) the old ATV sci-fi series Sapphire and Steel, starring Joanna Lumley and David McCallum, that Pa Weathery’s seems to take its cue from most, with its titular ‘time detectives’ from another dimension, who are not quite alien but very much more than human, sent to safeguard the structure of time.
SimRarg never seems to be sure exactly what he may or may not be safeguarding, but one thing’s for sure, orders are orders.
This is riveting stuff, Stephen King will be publishing his take on the Kennedy assassination later this year, 22.11.63, but Morris got there first and, as far as bone-dry, believable dialogue, fascinating characterizations and a rattling good yarn is concerned, King is going to have to go some to top this.
Perhaps Morris’s finest achievement with this, his first novel, is the ease with which he seamlessly blends startling sci-fi with unflinching social commentary, as he casts a cold eye over the racism and corruption of early 1960s America. And, as for the novel’s take on the “conspiracy” itself goes, ask yourself , how much more incredible is what happens here than what the US public of the time were asked to believe happened? “Mr. President, you can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you . . .”
Besides, sources close to this reviewer reveal that sequels are afoot and, really, it couldn’t be any other way, just wait until you find out where our man is heading next, and who his next target is. And why? Well, that would be telling.
There is perhaps the occasional sense that Morris has grown too fond of wrapping the reader up in riddles, and his love of metaphor runs maybe a little too deep, but this is nevertheless a startling debut from an author we can expect a great deal more from. Bring it on, say I.