the debt to raymond carver is obvious, nonetheless gary cummiskey forges territory that is all his own in this collection that, bejewelled as it is with his astringent surrealist prose, might well be described as a “gem” were it not for the final story, entitled “space”, that lends the collection a certain brownish pucker. this dark opening of a story is the book’s highlight, brilliantly chosen to end at the bottom so to speak. south african literary fiction has thirsted for a well-written poepgat, but now, having grown curious about gary cummiskey’s anus, our earlier revulsion withdraws into the background as the goal of penetrating and exploring the taboo of unknown darkness becomes foremost in our minds. the poepgat is central in understanding our collective national psyche here in africa south south (ass), where all who, after marikana, still believe in the rainbow mythology are well and truly assholes. bravo!
first published here