Reading Richard Gavin’s new book, grotesquerie is like moving through the undergloom of some ancient Roman grotto, a journey into the monstrous carnival of appetite and inhuman pleasure, where flesh and beastial sensuality melt into darkest paradise. The notion of the grotesque has been associated if not equated with the bizarre, macabre, fantastic, weird, Gothic, and arabesque, each signaling a snapshot slice of this strange beast that leads us down into the undergloom. Richard is both a guide and psychopomp to the mysteries of these chambers of mind and flesh, guiding us through a series of darkened hollows where we will meet the denizens of the land of nightmare in ways only he can tell.
A master of primeval gnosis and a veritable treasure trove of lore and occult instruction his grimoire or manifesto of the magickal arts, The Benighted Path reveals a region of nocturnal wisdom; an eerie dimension, where sleep has delivered us onto the back of the charging Night-Mare, and recollections of these brief visitations survive in countless tales of terror and in the folklore of locales rumoured to be fey or cursed. Rare, however, is the individual who willingly pays the tariff and passes irretrievably through that twilight of existence in order to become Benighted. It’s in this domain of the uncharted regions and nameless zones of the monstrous that Richard Gavin’s tales guide the wary reader, exploring the hinterlands of psyche and the outer liminal essence of the hidden.
Richard Gavin is an acclaimed author whose work explores the realm where dread and the sublime conjoin. His supernatural tales have been published in five collections, including Sylvan Dread and At Fear’s Altar. In 2015 he co-edited (with Patricia Cram and Daniel A. Schulke) Penumbrae: An Occult Fiction Anthology. Richard’s works of esotericism have appeared in Starfire Journal, Clavis: Journal of Occult Arts, Letters and Experience, and The Luminous Stone. His nocturnal manifesto The Benighted Path: Primeval Gnosis and the Monstrous Soul was released by Theion Publishing in 2016.
The tales of grotesquerie are like a series of frescoes that carefully reveal only the most luxuriant and sensual aspects of an event that is never named, much less fully fleshed out. Vignettes more than stories, small minimalistic glances into the the frayed mind’s of men and women who for the most part have discovered themselves lost among the fragments of their own broken lives. One wants to ask whether the monstrous is something hiding among the liminal regions of outward manifestation, or is the effect of this loquacious inner world of most of these denizens self-made madness and sacred transgression; part of some ongoing revelation of the monstrum – a portent of something forever about to be that unbinds itself only in the very movement of consciousness itself.
I thought about delving into the tales themselves, but to do that would be to reveal too much, to sink into the gloom and monstrosity of each delicate weaving, unbind its carefully woven patterns and lead the wary reader into a region of being that is best left unsaid. In other words I’d spoil the very need for pleasure and jouissance – that pleasure-pain we all get from reading a well-crafted tale of horror, especially of the grotesque kind. All I can say is these are tales that will draw you into a labyrinth of liminal design where if you are not careful you will remain like a victim of some monstrous nightmare in which just as you awaken you feel the very touch of the beast upon your shoulder, and a whisper saying: “Come, my dear, we’ve been waiting for you so long! We have so much to show you, want you come now!”
And visit Richard Gavin on his site: http://www.richardgavin.net/