Saturday, December 12, 2020

This Wounded Island - Collected Edition

Probability Distribution Group have announced a Collected Edition of the three books in the series This Wounded Island by the enigmatic topographer J W Böhm: The Condition of England, Another England, and Uncertain Times. The first of these has been out of print for some time.

The melancholy observations and resigned reveries of the Berlin aphorist can now be appreciated in a single collection, and I have been called upon to provide an introduction, “The ‘Truth in Fragments’ of J W Böhm”. Here is a brief extract:

‘On the page the writings of J W Böhm look terse, austere, as if they were the hasty scribbled case notes of a puzzled and overworked social worker, as if they might have been found in a dog-eared fawn folder in a chipped green filing cabinet with the sort of drawers that lurch out when you pull at them, as though they mean to topple you over and make their escape from their resented grooves. 

They record doubt, regret, resignation, a restrained bewilderment. Yet beneath this there is also to be discerned, I suggest, [a] ‘tenderness and intimacy’ . . .’ about the island he is surveying.'

(Mark Valentine)

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