A Whirly Man Loses His Turn by Mosby Woods
|A Whirly Man Loses His Turn by Mosby Woods
|Category: Literary Fiction
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: A novel discussing the pickle western civilisation currently finds itself in, by means of the fantastic and absurd visions of a seer who has lost accuracy in his visions. Fascinating stuff!
|Date: July 2023
|Publisher: Independently published
|External links: Author's website
The West isn't the dominant force it once was. Nobody in the West is quite sure how to mend this or even if mending it is the best course of action. Governments are flailing. A war here, a push for climate action there. A feeling that nobody is in actual charge. Imagine then, there was a man with precognition. Imagine the strategic advantage in this asset; a man who can tell you what will happen given any set of circumstances. That man would be valuable, right? Perhaps the most valuable asset in history. Imagine then, that this man loses this ability. What would governments do to get it back?
Well, in A Whirly Man Loses His Turn the government first turns to a physicist. There must be a scientific basis to the seer's ability, so surely physics will have the answer to its restoration? To this end, the seer is put into a centrifuge for some jolly good whirling. And his visions do return. But they're not helpful; they're absurd; seemingly uninterpretable sitcom plots. This is no good. Next up comes a military psychoanalyst and together, he and our ex-seer try to unravel the meanings in these new visions. The narrative of this interesting and challenging novel takes us through vision by vision: love interests and triangles, the music of Beethoven, the rituals of Halloween and the endless symbolisms of lighthouses.
Can they succeed?
I enjoyed reading A Whirly Man Loses His Turn more than I can say. It does, however, defy description. And I think that's rather the point. It's a book you need to experience rather than be told about. So read it!
In an afterword, Woods draws our attention to the life and work of Andrei Sinyavsky aka Abram Tertz. A literary critic in Soviet Russia, Sinyavsky disliked the dour nature of the socialist realist fiction which was backed by the state and published novels abroad using the fantastic tradition of writers such as Gogol. The Soviet authorities charged him with anti-Soviet agitation and he spent several years in a gulag before eventually finding his way to France, where he became a professor. Woods sees similarities with what he sees as a crisis of confidence in the West which will, if unchallenged, lead to a terminal decline. A Whirly Man Loses His Turn is his response. It's fantastical - bringing supernatural elements into an otherwise realistic story, asking questions about the world around us and where it might be going. What is our future? Has classical liberalism reached its limits? Is progress now confined to a postmodern transformation into a transhumanist disembodiment? Or will we simply stagnate? What will replace, well, us? And can tales of the fantastical describe the possible from within a system that deems it impossible?
Lots to think about in A Whirly Man Loses His Turn and I commend its ambition.
You can read more about Mosby Woods here
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