Voice Of The Fire
- Top Shelf Productions
- Publication Date:
- 29 March 2009
- Modern & Contemporary
Showing 1-3 out of 3 reviews.
I was very excited to see what Alan Moore's writing would be like outside of his comic work. I'm pleased to say that it does not disappoint. He really has a beautiful way with words, from the Joycean (I sort of feel like a goober using that word, but it seems accurate) opening to the closing in the author's own voice. The novel seems to be an expansion of one of the most interesting themes in From Hell: an exploration of occult history. Only instead of a quick tour of magical London, we're seeing an in-depth biography of Moore's own Northhampton. It's a subject that he has a lot of passion for, and his own enjoyment makes it fun to read in return.
Stories of magic, faith and the development of humans(or lack of) from the stone age to present day. This was the second time I started to read the book, the first time I was discouraged by the first story, using first person and present tense only. But the following chapters are easier to read, even if I get a little disturbed by the shakespeary language sometimes. It's not often I find a narrative that I don't recognise from another book.
Even if you take away Alan Moore's (arguably) greatest accomplishment (Watchmen), you still have a body of work that's fearless in its reach and execution. Even if you're not someone familiar with comics and Moore's influence in that world, I would be hard pressed to think of another creator - especially in the field of comics - who has has their work adapted for the screen more: V for Vendetta. From Hell. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. And though he's not technically the creator, Moore's widely acknowledged as the writer who breathed life into Swamp Thing. And though we shudder (for the most part) at the film adaptations, the work itself is still intact, and still endures. Was a novel inevitable? I don't know, and it's actually hard to classify Voice of the Fire as a novel. It's certainly Moore's first foray into substantial prose fiction, and if you're a fa of his work it really goes out if its way to root itself in all three of the embodiments mentioned above - plot, language, and concept. Voice of the Fire is a reckoning of Northampton, England over the course of 6,000 years, using a series of interconnected short narrative episodes (I hesitate to call them "short stories") to cover a wide range of topics including magic, identity - both individual and geographic, betrayal, ritual, and morality. Motifs and symbols - both vague and explicit - carry over from episode to episode. The first episode takes place roughly around 4,000 B.C. and uses a unique language similar in both style and execution to Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban and, to a lesser extent, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Here we get the first of many recurring symbols - the Hob Man, the shagfoals, the mark of murder and the mark of betrayal. Later stories incorporate severed heads, a man dressed as a giant bird, and the use of magic in many different incarnations. The final arc, taking place on 1995 and featuring Moore, wraps the entire book back upon itself, the image of the serpent eating itself for eternity acknowledging, to me at least, not so much a single story going on forever but one that is destined to return time and again to the beginning.Final words: It's definitely quintessential Alan Moore, and if you're a fan of his writing you'll love this. Take your time getting pst the first chapter (the introduction by Neil Gaiman in my edition helped move things along) and the rest rushes past in a flurry of wind and water.
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