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Spotlight on: My Eyes Are Nailed, But Still I See
by David Niall Wilson and Brett Alexander Savory

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My Eyes Are Nailed, But Still I See by David Niall Wilson and Brett Alexander Savory Brett Alexander Savory and David Niall Wilson, My Eyes Are Nailed, But Still I See

Johnson Millhone spends his day with his insides spilling out and encased in green Jell-O®. It's his brother Morgan's way of making Johnson add to the family's "recovery effort" and he sews Johnson up once a day so they can eat dinner together. Perched on a shelf, surrounded by a variety of preserved organs in jars, is Pig. Pig is a stuffed child's toy with nails in its eyes. Oh, yes, and he talks to Morgan and Johnson and claims to be their father. Where is their mother? She's coming back, supposedly. At least everyone makes themselves believe that. In the meantime, Morgan arouses himself by staring at her photograph.

That's just the beginning of My Eyes Are Nailed, But Still I See, the new novella by David Niall Wilson and Brett Alexander Savory. I had not yet read Wilson's Deep Blue before this, but having read Savory's "Slipknot" in From the Borderlands gave me some inkling what to expect here.

Although it is an overused cliche, I have to say that reading My Eyes Are Nailed, But Still I See is closely akin to riding an unfamiliar rollercoaster. The first part of it is relatively conventional once you're in right mindset -- sort of like that ride up the huge incline. After the first twenty pages, however, all bets are off. You could be in a dream, a memory, real time, or some surreal combination thereof.

But there's no telling in what order those turns and loops will come. You could simply jump ahead or back at the authors' whims, or even be rereading the same passage over again -- back up, relive it; back up, relive it. You really have to pay attention, and that's one of the main things I like about it in an age when books have become like mass-produced strained peas: to be devoured quickly without a hint of flavor.

What's also remarkable is that, after creating such an oddball world, Savory and Wilson had the creativity left over to craft an accessible storyline in its midst. In any other situation, these would be characters so weird that their motives would be unfathomable, but here their actions are completely understandable and organic to the plot. Kudos also for not accepting the temptation to explain everything away, given that there is a character that could easily have been used to that effect.

My Eyes Are Nailed, But Still I See is very much like one of those films that, once you see it, you start over again immediately, because you just know you didn't quite grasp all that it had to offer. A comparison to Mulholland Drive or Donnie Darko would not be too off the mark, only I felt confident that I had gotten the point of the latter film the first time through. I'm still not sure that I totally understand what was going here (or where Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" fits into it) but, again, that's part of its charm: it keeps coming back to me, begging me to replumb its depths for further meaning, and sort of hanging over my head because it feels like I haven't completed a task that was put to me.

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