Wednesday, 10 June 2015

ManBug (by George Ilsley) -- An Appreciation

George Ilsley is a writer who, fortunately, attends quite frequently at the Grind Writers' group meetings. George is not exactly one to blow his own horn. And because I don't make the habit of googling everybody who attends, we didn't find out for at least a year that he had two books
published: Random Acts of Hatred  (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004) a book of short stories; and his latest, ManBug (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2006), a novel, which was a finalist for the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award (Gay/Lesbian Fiction). George was subTERRAIN magazine's 2014 Lush Triumphant Contest winner for Creative Non-Fiction.  

I’ll never ignore armpits again. I’ll never feel the same way about them now either, now that George Ilsley has irrevocably associated the words “armpits” and “bonsai garden” in my consciousness in ManBug.  

And speaking of consciousness, ManBug book is awash in consciousness; it’s all about consciousness. The cons of false consciousness. The fleeting veracity of consciousness. Yours. Mine. Sebastian’s and Tom’s --  of each other, of themselves, of others, of insects. Especially insects. And intersections. And interspecies intersections. And about some things we’d just as rather not be conscious of -- what makes Glosette™-style raisins glossy for instance (Euw). The mating habits of all sort of beings, conscious or otherwise. And some things we are not conscious of, but others are: what hearing speech in colours is like, for instance.

But throughout, a perceptive Observer with a witty way of slicing & dicing our consciousnesses into his. George Ilsley’s. Sebastian’s. Tom’s. The bat bug’s. And an exploration of connection and consciousness and love in the forms love will choose to take and how we can be conscious of the many ways that love can manifest. And how strange love is. And what happens when it stops.

From the publisher's blurb:
Told in dreamlike fragments, ManBug unfolds as a love story between Sebastian, an entomologist with Asperger's Syndrome (similar to autism), and Tom, a spiritual bisexual who may or may not be recruiting Sebastian for a cult. They explore the world through their relationship, seeking meaning and value in themselves through the other. They also try to avoid the inevitable toxins around them, both real and imagined—like bugs avoiding insecticide—while asking the question, Just how much poison can any of us absorb?

--Margo Lamont

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a very thoughtful review. Thanks for posting!