“During the day there’s the paradox of bright sun, jade bamboo, emerald persimmon leaves, malachite palms, and wind-sheets of bright (disguised) antarctic cold. But at night the island sails into mute, drained death. They both huddle under their fake black fur…”
An intellectual confrontation with aging ontology meets with the insulating veneer of superfluity and consumerism. Deep enlightenment is somehow woven into fixations with the superficial and trashy, a protective skin graft to keep three middle aged women and their eking existence intact. As escapists from escapism they pour themselves into a mould of black lycra and worship their outer sheen, coercing a second youth out of old conventionalised bodies. Their jungle paradise is full of beautiful colours and textures but most often expressed by its extremes of climate or its coterie of invasive snakes and spiders. The women experience a ‘coming out’ of sorts only to have to re-shut themselves in – cocooned within their middle aged paranoia, making silk purses as they plan face-lifts and belly-tucks. Their story is an experiential foray into a ménage-à-trois – opting out of the conventions of life and love to create their own sensual world on the fringes of the Brazilian jungle, a life which suspends desire, imagination and passion through a silky black dreamland of heightened reality.
The Dream of the Black Topaze Chamber shows the late Hugh Fox at his most sublime. With so many eminently quotable aphorisms and moments of bard-like inspiration he is able to explore the subtle underpinnings of relationships, the minute unspoken thought-flashes between friends, and the mute electricity of shared moments. He moves from the intimate to the universal seamlessly, where inert trivialities can explode into a political treatise or a sublime poetic reflection within a single breath. The Black Topaze Chamber becomes the hub of isolated souls finding some last spiritual union through the open eroticism of their bodies. What results is a lyrical novel of ecstatic sexual and sensual metamorphosis rendered through a poetic alchemy of Brazilian gemstones.
The Dream of the Black Topaze Chamber features cover art by Mikki Nylund and is available from various retail outlets such as Amazon, or direct from the Skylight Press website.