The short story, “Possession” by Patrick de Moss is a disturbing journey into the mind and an examination of the thin line that separates us all from “insanity”. What event is needed in our lives to tip us over that line?
I hope we will read much more from this very talented writer in future - maybe a novel? The writing style, to me, is reminiscent of the great William Faulkner, with extended flashbacks and puzzle pieces of memory holding the reader’s attention to the very last line.
A strange boy. A strange youth. A strange adult. Or so he appears to the “normal” people around him. A person who lives very much in his own head and imagination and just wants to be left alone. "He would always be a little distant because of it, always just a little out of the reach of the hands of lovers, of the laughter of friends, because of it... "
The reader’s heart goes out to Nicholas as one is taken through the inner workings of his mind–and the uncomprehending, callous adults around him. The talented writing probes the very depths of this distressed young man who, in the opening pages, confronts the death of his father. The flashbacks and puzzle pieces are vividly described in the brilliant prose and dialogue which categorise de Moss’s writing.
This short story is filled with hidden depth and subtle nuance. A layered verbal mosaic of loss, love, coming of age, miracles and the strange and unexpected. A story filled with magical fantasy and pure poetic escapism – “...she picks him up with a rush and a kiss full of Soweto choirs, full of orchids, full of stars.” A story filled with sad, harsh realities – “There was a time he thought he had been made. That his father had made him (and apparently had made him badly, the way he shook him! The way he rattled his creation!)"
I do not have the words to give adequate praise to this writer. An anthology of his short stories – which I eagerly await — should receive the accolades due to a fresh new literary genius of the 21st century. It has been a long time since the world has had a Faulkner.
The cover design by the writer’s wife, Tanya Linnegar, is striking, original and eerily evocative of the brilliant layered text within.