Anna Kavan: Sleep Has His House Peter Owen Modern Classic



S interesting xperimental suite of prose pieces Kavan xplores sleep s house the images of her retreat through childhood and into young adulthood from the daylight world of objectivity into her own interior dreamworldThe book has all of the beauties and difficulties of dreaming and madness I guess It s alluring most of the time and startling occasionally It s originality draws you in but of course doesn t uite hold your attention the same way that a traditional narrative does So whether its our fault from being trained to appreciate standard narrative techniue through familiarity or because dream logic texts disjointed seuential images and free associations actually aren t as compelling as straight narrative it s just harder to follow than a traditional story It s a little tougher to stay ngaged for the duration So the odd charms but also by defying logic contributes toward Doctor Illuminatus entropy than cohesion in the long run However at a mere 190 pages I was still interested andnjoying Sleep Has His House up to its conclusion The Real Witches Kitchen even if the very nature of the textncourages one s mind to wander somewhatKavan s beautiful and terse descriptive prose style is fabulous throughout helping to hold the different dream narratives together stylistically Also the short seemingly autobiographical introductions to The Preachers Kid each dream narrative help to frame them into something slightly traditionally logicalcoherent While this could be something of a betrayal of the surrealist credo I think it helped here So we re not actually as the authorial voice seems to be utterly locked into the house of sleep Rather we re peeking in through a window watching the narrator disappear out of the sunlight deeper and deeper into that dark house of her personal dreams and nightmares UpdateThis definitely benefited from a second reading I can t do it justiceOriginal commentsThis probably wasn t the best time to attempt something so dense I haven t been able to concentrate on anything latelyBut I love Anna Kavan Without her I d feel very alone in the world I ll have to reread this when I can read it properlyI still think Ice is her masterpiece A progressive withdrawal from the outside world from sun and reality from the true as accepted by consensus A retreat into oneself away from a comfortingrsatz reality repeatedly rejected as unreal a duplicitous truth tarnished by tendrils of harsh falsity a retreat into a darkened inner womb world tomb world which for this troubled brilliant writer voice seems to contain much personal truth than that beyond Or is the self as deceptive as the otherOh Anna Kavan is this as they say your murk shaded memoir of a childhood of resistance against the sun blind day you were pointed into by rough authoritative hands Or a novel of the welcome O Testamento embrace of madness that stands just inside the threshhold of genius Your surrealist paint smears of recollection and dream reformed into a new narrative of determinedscape Or an Gangbang Slut essay on the dangers of two universes that struggle constantly for domination inach of us without and within Is the bright and sun burned plaza or the noirest of under cellars the guilty of obfuscationAs impossible prose this is magnificent and One Con Glory even at its most delirious there seemsnough outside attachment imposition to give it meaning It s a slippery half seen meaning yes one that I find myself continually in struggle with Kavan for meaning that is a fight to keep hold of against her continuous receding receding receding back along those shaded interior horizons without Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows end But I can feel the significance that lurks here anyway the burningly real precarious as its position may become And so this stands with Kavan sven finer Ice I am sucker for its plotting and glacial imagery as The Great Orange Leonard Scandal (Tall Tales Series; 4) example of the kind of surrealism whose reeling insanity never reelsntirely beyond the pale of some kind of half felt or often fully felt urgent purpose And so keep retreating Anna I can still see you see you see you Described as a memoir Sleep Has His House charts a loosely connected course through dream time in order to tell the story of an isolated childhood and adolescence leading into a full scale retreat from society In between the dream seuences are straightforward bits of prose that help to maintain the tenuous chronology There are also recurring characters including Kavan s mother that serve as anchors within the dream textsI read most of this book on a series of nights lying in bed as sleep slowly curled into my consciousness I think this affected my reading of the book to the point where I didn t want to pick it up in daylight I also think it nriched my dreams although I did not specifically dream of the book But I did xperience something new in one dream in speaking to someone I made a reference to a place I have only been to in my dreams to my knowledge it does not A Fairly Honourable Defeat exist in waking life I woke the next morninglatedThis book is said to be a Surrealist xperiment although I don t think Kavan identified herself with Surrealism To me labeling it as such cheapens Kavan s achievement I think it s better to approach the book without any preconceived notions Consider reading it at night as your yes slowly begin to close and you loiter at the Elisabeth Shue 135 Success Facts - Everything You Need to Know about Elisabeth Shue edge of dream life Life is tension declares the author s Foreword starting this book which above all justifies Kavan s reputation as a powerful and uniue voice A semi autobiographical dream voyage told in a startlingly cinematic style it would bexcellent material for a David Lynch film already being close to a literary version of Inland Empire with some xtraordinary images and scenes such as the Pythonesue Liaison Officer the ballet performance and the tale of the manikin Professor There is no whimsy here written in 1948 it also shows a clear awareness of concentration camps nuclear war political repression and the potential for a surveillance state spurious and manipulated rebellion propaganda and total war The writing is taut and propulsive running through a kaliedoscope of demented surrealist newsreel predating some of French xperimentalists of the 50s In conclusion one of the greatest novel A very old friend that I have never let go. Sharpened or decoded by contemplation in the dark Revealing that side of life which is never seen by the waking ye but which dreams and drugs can suddenly mphasize this startling discovery illustrates how these nighttime illuminations reveal the narrator's joy for the living wor.

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The stars have thrown their spears down and departed There seems to be nothing Threads Of The Shroud except primordial chaos outside the window Utterly still utterly alone I watch the darkness flower into transient symbols And now there is danger somewhere a slow padded beat like cushioned paws softly approaching What an ominous sound that is to hear in the night p9Sleep Has His House is anxtraordinary book one that defies description or at least it defies my powers of description It s a fusion of novel memoir and literary All Seated on the Ground experiment On the back cover of my copy it s said to have startled with its strangeness in 1948 it is no less startling or strange in 2020 though it s gratifying to know that it is now regarded as one of Kavan s best having been poorly reviewed on publication The narrative is largely composed of surreal dream scenes they are structured around the by all accounts somewhat autobiographical story of a girl known as B Sometimes writing in first person and sometimes observed B relates her conviction that humanxistence is divided between the day world and the mysterious language of the night As the day to day Untitled. experience of her childhood becomes difficult B retreats into what she calls the night world or nightland I had to prevent the day world from becoming real she tells us I waited all through the day for the moment of going home to my night world This dark fantastical space represents anscape from the isolation B Wiring endures in her daily lifeAt school and at home it was the same I was alone This I accepted and knew it would always be so wherever I went and whatever happened to me There was no place for me in the day world My home was in darkness and my companions were shadows beckoning from a glass p101Sleep Has His House is a feast of language Glance at any page and you will find a sentence or phrase uniue in its beauty The descending swell burns translucent livid swaths of light fall as if cut by a scythe Reflections from silverware create smothered prismatic gleams through the gap between curtains a small moon uizzes coldly a figure beckons from the sapphire recessive night and a huge spectral white owl with lambentyes glides overhead Rarely have I ncountered such painterly descriptions such vivid powerful imagesThe pre realist fantasia opens up in an inchoate sort of Marie Laurencin dream of delicate tints No form to speak of Just a pearly billowing and subsiding of fondant chromatics p28A sombre landscape ventuates worked out in blacks and greys and the very gloomiest shades of viridian A scowling sky ominous mountains water cold still and solid looking as ice trackless fir forests the fine spray from the gigantic waterfalls fuming slowly like Jingling Daddys Bells BDSM Menage ectoplasm p79B is often portrayed calmly reading a book In some scenes she sits and reads uietly as the story of creation unfolds around her as the monstrousfflorescence of the universe burgeons Here the backdrops are The DOS evocative not just of art but of cinema of the kind of visualffects impossible at the time Kavan was writingThere s a split second s glimpse of the vast sad blackness of infinity before the perfectly bare void is spattered by this glittering Against All Odds exsurgence this bursting fountain of molecules instantly crystallizing to seuins of differing size the stars roar past like stratoliners to destinations not checked in uadrillions the thunderous revving of the cosmic machines settles to the steady beat ofternity p31The Sleep, Circadian Rhythms, and Metabolism eye is checking a record of silence space a nightmarevery horror of this world in its frigid and blank neutrality The actual scope of its orbit depends on the individual concept of desolation but approximate symbols are suggested in long roving perspectives of ocean black swelled in slow undulation Treasons, Stratagems, And Spoils each whaleback swell plated in armour hard brilliance with the moonlight clanking along it thendless aimless nameless shoreline flat bald white sand unbroken black tree palisade the heavy and horrid Payment Due eternal onrush of breakers suddenlyxploding their madness of futile power millions of mad tons piling booming collapsing swirling in chain mail mosaic of mad moon splinters blanched mountain range a ridge of clenched knucklebones p89I think the above might be my favourite passage from the book and also seems so perfectly representative of it the rich beauty of the description set against the bleak images it relates the overpowering sense of desolation of lonelinessYet as you can see from the above depends on the individual concept of desolation Sleep Has His House possesses a sense of humour of sorts It is sometimes sardonic sometimes absurd remember a whatsit s whatsit may depend on your whatsit and some of what was presumably intended as near nonsense an Vampireville (Vampire Kisses, expression of the limitless possibilities of the nightland now seems oddly prescient the radio announces various kinds of truth to suitvery listener I have sometimes found Kavan s short stories tough to get into and have wondered whether I would Pirate of the Pacific (Doc Savage, ever recapture the sense of amazement I felt when I read Ice for the first time Sleep Has His House brought that feeling back and reminded me ofverything I found so utterly The Rich and the Profane (Lovejoy, entrancing about Ice This is the sort of writing that leaves me reelingTinyLetter More poetry than prose this memoir is like tasting wine for the first time as a teenager acrid dangerous and addictive I don t know if it s forveryone but it was definitely for me If you too know xactly what Kavan means if the following passage resonates with you you will love Sleep Has His House I think this is probably the most important passage of the book as the rest of the book has strings of this theme woven throughout In time I found out what it was that the rain whispered I learned from the rain how to work the magic and then I stopped feeling lonely I learnt to know the house in the night way of mice and spiders I learnt to read the geography of the house bones Invisible and unheard I scampered down secret tunnels beneath the floorboards and walked a tightrope webbing among the beams After that I never wished for other children to play with I transmuted flat daylight into my night time magic and privately made for myself a world out of spells and. A classic later novel by Anna Kavan A largely autobiographical account of an unhappy childhood this daring synthesis of memoir and surrealist xperimentation chronicles the subject's gradual withdrawal from the daylight world of received reality Brief flashes of daily xperience from.

Whispers Somewhere online I saw Kavan compared to Kafka and I would very much agree with the comparison to my favourite author not a thing I do asily in terms of content that dark dreamy world of chaos and sin and imprisonment Don t think I m weird but I d draw comparisons to the unexpected unconventional logic of Hayao Miyazaki s movies too specifically Howl s Moving Castle the atmosphere is reminiscent somehowStylistically KavanKafka are uite different though Kafka minces his words and throws them at you like tiny darts until his denouements where he drops atom bombs on you Kavan is dreamy drifty languid lyrical She takes her time building the suspense and pulling you along through the dark water directing the blurry nonsensical ocean current in which you are trapped She also has a way of using certain words in unexpected ways that make utter sense Antiue rain falls in her world and you know at once what she means And Tale of Genji references Eeeeeeee I was tempted to give only 3 stars as I can t say it was a novel that floored me But seeing as I read it with a tired flickering world filled mind this lack of a strong connection may have been my fault than hers Beautifully written as one would Elizabeth Ann Seton expect from Kavan andmotionally rich I just think it is one of those works where one needs to be in the right place to receive it Because of my fear that the daytime world would become real I had to Die Postmoderne Konstellation establish reality in another place Holy fuck There s really no way to begin to write about this book rather it must bexperienced on its own terms in the nighttime logic Kavan Folk Tales From the Soviet Union employs to render the visions and logic of dreams in prose that is asrudite and learned as it is nightmarish and downright bizarreTo call Kavan s style in Sleep Has His House surreal is to miss the mark As Kavan herself states in a introductory passage to the text No interpretation is needed of the language we have all been speaking since childhood and in our dreams The images scenes confusions and Ulysses and the Trojan War even the melancholy found in the narrator B s rejection of the world of light and all that itntails is familiar to all writers and certainly to all dreamers The dream closes in to the central dead spotKavan clarifies that for the sake of unity a few words before Tall, Dark Rich each section indicate the correspondingvents in terms of real temporal time And these intercalary chapters are so The Collector's Encyclopedia of Antique Marbles eerily reminiscent not in their tone or treatment but in their almost predictable and perfect placement of the intercalary chapters in Virginia Woolf s The Waves as they make the two texts companion shadow pieces of sorts Whereas Woolf is concerned with plumbing the depths of consciousness of six main charactersventually absorbing all of these moments of being replete with images sense perceptions and subjectivized linguistic nuances Kavan goes Taught to Obey even deeper Focusing on B rather than a wider chorus of characters as does Woolf Kavan s world is already hermetic indeed inschewing all light and concentrating instead on the darkness and the logic ven a pitch black room holds for an individual s conscious connections allows her to descend several layers below the unconsciousnesses for which Woolf s own text is so highly praised But Kavan s deep unconsciousness is not one of pure despair nor are the images and temporal connections so subjective to prevent the reader ntrance into this world of shadows and utter darkness Because we all share this language we have been speaking since childhood and in our dreams the connections become clearer as the reader works to patch together the at times overload of senses with which Kavan bombards him or her In Rebel (The Change, essence the logic of the nighttime with which she is concerned is one that is deeply familiar one that is hardly uncanny despite how it might feel upon first reading Sleep and stumbling over the opening sectionsThe most rewarding part of Kavan s prose is her uniue ability to blend reality and fantasy truth and fiction and the public and the personal While Sleep Has His House can be and likely has been read as a private document too insular to be deciphered by a reader I would counter this rather strongly However like Woolf s The Waves Kavan s Sleep is a work that reuires a familiarity with her prior work style treatment andspecially as it Man of Her Dreams (The Enforcers, evolved over time to the subjectivized and almost inverted world one sees in books like Ice but which are shatteredven in works like Sleep We know a lot about Freud s influence on Woolf s life and work and The Waves slow descent into several layers of consciousness and its focus on deep unconsciousness is one meagre testament to that debt Kavan does reference Woolf s Orlando once in Sleep Has His House making the connection between the two seem a valid one to draw here Kavan also appears to know her Freud although perhaps from the wrong side of the couch which is not to say insights cannot be offered by the analysand any than they can by the analyst and if Freud had lived I m certain he would have learned many a thing about the unconscious and its many levels subjectivized sensory perceptions and how these can somehow be shared or at least understood by individuals from The Plant Paradox entirely different circumstances and the formative years of childhood from a book like Kavan sWe are often scared ofxamining the depths but with the right guides g Dante s Virgil guiding the way through the Inferno we have many lessons to learn about ourselves and the dark world we tend to ignore whether out of fear anxiety trepidation or because we have been conditioned to think that the world of light is the only one that matters Explore the depths then do not be afraid of the darkness You will remain intact albeit changed irrevocably survivor of all voyages and situations I The I will survive if you trust in Kavan s journey as well we all should Morpheus the Greek god of sleep gave his name to the drug Anna Kavan long worshiped And despite the obvious dangers the drug threatens to one s health it s not difficult to see why it s ffects tied as they are to sleep dreaming and imagination have long been alluring to artists from De uincey to Trocchi Holiday to Hendrix Reed to Cobain In thi. Childhood adolescence and youth are described in what is defined as nighttime language a heightened decorative prose that frees these vents from their gloomy associationsThe novel suggests we have all spoken this dialect in childhood and in our dreams but these thoughts can only be.

Anna Kavan was born Helen Woods in France on April 10 1901 to wealthy expatriate British parents Her initial six works were published under the name of Helen Ferguson her first married name These early novels gave little indication of the experimental and disturbing nature of her later work I Am Lazarus 1945 a collection of short stories which explored the inner mindscape of the psycholo