Immortown, by Lily Markova - 5 Stars

Lily Markova is the best unsigned writer of literature in the world today.

Justice, if you do exist somewhere in your ivory tower of airy promises, read that line again.

I swear I will return and revise that statement if I find another rookie novelist with no publishing deal who can elevate prose to the same standard as Lily Markova, The Loneliest Whale being the current benchmark. The crazy thing is, this isn’t her best book but it represents a prototype of literary craft that forewarns of a pen-scratching ability rising up with every title.

Immortown is Lily Markova’s second book, the one from the shades, the bleak moments of dying candles and lowered voices, whispers at a wake, personal loss and an edge of self-protection, all drawn into a singularity of otherworldly unfairness that has become a location, a genius loci that endures and entraps in a town that no longer exists. Is remembrance useful or does it stop us living? Mortality then, as a theme? Cruelty and entropy enter the story too, again shaped by the spirit of place and the wastefulness of waiting. Not as soulful as her latest work, more tragic and isolating certainly, yet still mesmerising and exquisite in its realisation. Lily writes of realities behind the world we see, senses, memories and feelings all pictured as spaces.

Should I describe the plot? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think anyone writing about the shadows and the ruins is likely to have been at a high point in their life but discussing this would demean the colours and vitality in this writing, the stream of insights that show this writer can take a negative subject and bring even that back to life. There’s the summation really. This book is a pomegranate in the underworld and I think you should discover it as a path to her latest work, the one where all the lights come on and you’re aware of the cottontail sky.

Ok, I’m done but when you award the contract to design a new Universe, you could do worse than hand it to Lily Markova because she’ll give you access to more beautiful layers than the single reality we’ve been locked into in this one.

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