Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season
by George Angel

Hardcover
1996
Price:  $21.95

Paperback
1996
Price:  $13.50

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These text are territories, dark forests, places to dwell. Sheets of language superimpose and recurrent words and images begin to fall upon one another like the bricks or sticks of an imagined palace waiting to be explored. Where is this palace? Somewhere on an island between San Francisco, California and Medellin, Columbia. This palace is empty, the builder has left. But one can hear a melody drifting down its halls.


If you have a little time, if you are one of the readership's unabashed children, take up your flashlight and enter this attempt to whistle things as they are, simultaneous and spiraling, full of leaves and laughter, women walking doodles in the morning, confusion as fusion considered, and the breeze that lifts us up into the trees.


"The Fifth Season. A first collection, winner of the Nilon Award for Excellence in Minority Fiction, consisting of brief, Beckett-like distillations of psychic experience. Angel's strange, demanding stories, set—when settings are specified—in the Latino subcultures of southern California, pay as much attention to geometrical shapes and architectural designs as to the emotional states which they appear to influence and with which they dreamily correspond. Images of enclosure and extension thus resonate through such obscure yet seductive stories as "Home" (which registers visions that may go through a drowning man's mind) and "Carl's World" (which memorably relates a hospital janitor's complex apprehension of human vulnerability and mortality). What Yeats called "the fascination of what's difficult" makes these gnomic, powerful pieces frequently as rewarding as they are challenging."—Kirkus Reviews


Excerpt


Suppose it is a table or a house. Let us say a house for now, an enclosure. There are no doors or windows, merely dark spaces of entrance which make the walls between their cool toothless mouths seem like the legs of a table. It straddles the afternoon breeze. Its walls are smooth and white. Grey wisps play over them, shadows of a deeper purity. See there behind one's noticing the clumps of dying colorless grass.


Its blended coloring is that of a dream, a place where someone dead or forgotten is met in those moments just before waking. Place it in a desert but it is not there. Speak of its structure and there is nothing but a murmur, no wood or mixture to speak of. It is a squat beneath an instant's lucid sky. An instant in which tender jagged notes are heard adorning a simple word. Because there are figures joining hands upon the structure. The area between these figures is as blue as backdrop. They are pink and faceless, inhuman with hope.


Eyes closed, one draws yellow lines through the night air outside this house. Geometric webs trembling as the notes pass through each strand untouched. One's head aches and the heart is empty sailing closer just above the enclosure, never inside. The brilliant rectangles of light within, hung on the walls like paintings, are a memory. The notes descend like a banister embedded with scrollwork.


This must have been in his head, this house, when he stopped thrashing about and sunk beneath the water. We straining our eyes and shouting. But all we saw, and this only for a moment, was the tip of his hair brushing the surface of the water like an eyelash.