Published by The Cupboard

February 25, 2009

posted by Nick Sarno

Parables & Lies

review by Naomi Henderson

ballcover

Parables & Lies by Jesse Ball, is the first in a series of publications put forth by The Cupboard in Summer 2008. It is divided into three sections, however I see no obvious change in theme or scenery from one section to the next. This led me to wonder, was that section all lies, all parables, or perhaps both? The book is quite diminutive in size, and each entry is no more than two pages long. Every descriptive scene is like a condensed fairy tale, replete with fantasy, violence and character types, such as “the merchant” and “the seamstress.” In almost every instance, I could imagine these small paragraphs being fleshed out into entire novels. Despite this, I did not find them terse or unfulfilling. The book seemed to be the outpouring of midnight inspirations and potent snapshots. As an example, I will share the entry entitled “The Carriage-Driver” from section Three:

“In the midst of a terrible storm, a carriage comes thundering down a narrow drive, and pulls up at the entrance to a large mansion. The carriage doors are thrown open and a man with a haughty, powerful bearing exits the carriage and goes to the house. Hours pass. The storm is a brutal call from an angry host, and the tree line flails upon the near hills; the mud churns, pounded by the water’s ceaseless assault. Still the carriage driver waits, trembling. He wants to rub the horses with a soft blanket, but he cannot, for the mud about their hooves is too deep now for him to stand in. In fact the carriage has now sunk so that only half of its wheels rise out of the mud. The horses are curiously dead, slumped in their harnesses, unmoving. Soon the mud will cover them. Then and only then will he knock upon the house’s great door. He will not speak when the door is answered, but will simply point, dumbfounded, at the carriage as it sinks from sight.”

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