Monday, May 30, 2022

The Guiltless Bystander - David Wheldon

Confingo Publishing have just announced pre-orders for the July publication of The Guiltless Bystander, a collection of short stories by David Wheldon. I wrote about this author briefly in a June 2017 post mentioning his nightjar booklet The Automaton

His particular quality was the ability to write about seemingly realistic scenes in a way that gave them a remorseless, unreal atmosphere, like a slow, insidious nightmare (in which nevertheless there are moments of unexpected if brief relief). For this reason he was often compared with Kafka, although I think the author himself was not so sure of this identification

I wrote then:

'This author achieved success with his first novel, The Viaduct (1983), and a second, The Course of Instruction (1984), both of which impressed me a good deal at the time.

I remember that I was actually on a course of instruction when I read this second book in the rather dreary digs where I was staying. This was possibly not a good move, as I started to feel that the book and what then passed for reality were beginning to overlap a bit too closely. Nevertheless, I got each one of the following books as they appeared, each getting stranger and somehow more remote, until they seemed to stop altogether. So it is good to learn of this thoughtful author's return to publication, and I will seek the story out with a keen appreciation, not to say apprehension'.

The news of an entire volume of his stories brings even further opportunities for appreciation - and apprehension.

(Mark Valentine)


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for telling us about this book, Mark. I just ordered a copy.