Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Man Who Remembered the Moon (David Hull)

David Hull's teasing literary fable, The Man Who Remembered the Moon, opens with a gambit that could be considered either Kakfaesque or Twlight Zone-ish - and come to think of it, don't those have something in common? Hull's protagonist no longer sees the moon in the sky, and can't convince anyone that it was once there. They don't know what he's talking about.

Now, you are probably already thinking - what about moon references in literature? What about the word "lunar"? What about the tides? Wouldn't it be a lot darker at night? The author is ahead of you.

It is not just the absence of the moon that renders the world that Hull describes in this novella unfamiliar. That is often true with Kafka and Rod Serling, too - the worlds in which their possibly delusional protagonists are situated are not quite right anyway.

Two peculiarities in the world of Hull's story stood out to me. One, the delusion sufferer is institutionalized over it, and for a long time. We must admit, this could not be our contemporary world. Delusions sometimes used to get you locked up; no longer. We shut down the asylums and made the world the asylum. It saves money, anyway.

Two, strongly related to one, the man who remembers the moon insists on trying to bring everyone around, instead of letting the point be. I suppose that would make him more of an institutional candidate. Think about this. Couldn't you make honest statements that would have others looking askance at your good sense, even possibly your sanity? I know I could; I assume that most people could. We just learn to keep quiet about it, or at the very least to pick our audiences carefully.

Hull's protagonist has no self-preservational filter; by golly, everyone must be made to understand that there was a moon. Which is more problematic, falling prey to a (possible) delusion, or demanding that the world agrees with your perception of it? The latter is certainly more dangerous.

Naturally, I do not want to say how this all plays out in the story, which I recommend to your attention. It is a quick read, and a rewarding one. Hull has a full-length novel announced for a year from now, and I will definitely be reading that book when it appears. It will be interesting to see if it extends the cool, thoughtful tone of The Man Who Remembered the Moon, or goes in a different stylistic direction altogether.

The Man Who Remembered The Moon (Kindle Single)

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