Monday, October 18, 2010

Fiction: Sarah Court by Craig Davidson

If your taste in fiction runs to the disturbing, dark and at least partially weird, chances are you’ve heard of ChiZine Publications -- CZP -- a young imprint that is nonetheless producing startlingly beautiful books of starkly, darkly literary quality. So dedicated is ChiZine to producing “dark genre fiction” that are works of art, each edition is released in three formats simultaneously: trade paper, e-book and a limited edition, signed hardcover.

Sarah Court, new last month, is a great example of all of these things. The cover is evocative and perfectly rendered, with careful embossing bringing home the design.

Nor does the book so covered disappoint. The work of urban journalist Craig Davidson, Sarah Court is a collection of connected stories, all focused around Sarah Court:
...a ring of homes erected by the Mountainview Holdings Corporation. Cookie-cutter houses put up quick .... A town unfurling along Lake Ontario. Once so polluted, salmon developed pearlescent lesions on their skin. Ducks, pustules on their webbed feet. They seizured from contagions in their blood. Children were limited to ten-minute swimming intervals.

You really are such magnificently grim bastards. Trashing utopia is how you party.
This is a good excerpt, I think, because it demonstrates so much of what makes Sarah Court a remarkable book. Davidson’s prose has a swift, raw power. A muscularity, some would say. There is dark humor here, certainly. But an innate humanity, as well, though it almost seems at times the author tries to hide that fact: festoon it with dark pathos and grind it beneath booted feet. ◊

David Middleton is a graphic designer and photographer and the art and culture editor of January Magazine.

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