Gransden is perhaps my favourite indie author, certainly one of my favourite people. I’ve been looking forward to the release of this collection and I hope you’ll check it out too. Here’s a link to buy it on Amazon, and below is my review.
I’ve read this collection several times. While the stories themselves are elusive, there is one unanswered question that interests me the most: what are rusticles?
I think they are icicles made of rust. There are no such thing, and they don’t explicitly exist between these pages. That is, they are not objects that exist in these stories but perhaps something imagined by its characters. Something seemingly nonsensical, fantastic, inexplicable, seemingly purposeless maybe, but something new and disturbing and curious and worn and forgotten. Corroded but not yet dust. Natural and yet not. Imaginable and yet non-existent. Relatable and yet never seen before. Fantastical yet grounded. And really, if there is an apt symbol to represent the feel of Hilligoss, the mood and content and style of these stories, it is one that the reader must invent themselves, and one that itself goes unexplained.
Anyone who has read anemogram will likely be familiar with Gransden’s uniquely lush and organic minimalism, her “ivy-laden shopping cart in a drained, mossy swimming pool at night” aesthetic (as I like to think of it), and have probably been clamouring for this next collection. Anyone who is yet to discover Gransden, well, first of all what the eff, and secondly, this is an excellent starting point.
These roaming stories build Hilligoss. Or rather, like a streetlight pushed over by a fox when no one was looking, they reveal what seems inopportune, partial, exterior, and ask you to fill in what’s missing. For that, you’ll use your own tools, which means that Hilligoss is no longer just Gransden’s but also yours, and that your Hilligoss is your own. And when you see it like this, you think, the fox has as much right as anyone to contribute to what’s worth looking at. You think, why is observing what’s so frequently considered best to look at what I want to do? Wouldn’t I rather see what the fox wants me to look at? Or, maybe we spent so long expecting to see a rigid circle of streetlight along the highway that it took the chance interruption of an unnamed fox to suddenly let us see the world in a way both familiar and yet so different. And if that’s true, how can you be so sure, when you examine your memories, your environs, yourself, that you know where you’re supposed to look? What if the most salient information passed you by? In which case, why not look where you want to, if any angle will reveal just as little, or as much?
If someone was to ask me, then, what it’s like to read this book, I could say, ‘It’s like discovering a rusticle for the first time.’
You then might respond, ‘What’s a rusticle?’
And I’d say, ‘Don’t ask me. Ask yourself.’