a brief pause between chapters 1 & 2 of part 2 of Jeff VanderMeer’s Shriek: An Afterword:
tales of Ambergris, as befits a city borne of an aesthete as Boschian as it is Hawk-Alfredsonian, are richly textured and brightly hued, if often illuminated by a greenish phosphorescence and accompanied by a sweetly rancid odor, occasioned, at times, by a purple hint of lime. thus has Shriek: An Afterword been so far to the mind of this reader, but never yet more so than in the opening sequences of the second part of that book.
war has broken-out (and so had the skies outside my apartment, as if to provide a backdrop of rather ho-hum sturm und drang the Janice-Duncan balancing act thankfully, for all the violence of the relevant sections of the narrative, never allows the text to fall too seriously into), and as Janice and Duncan and all Ambergris goes about the rather tiresome business of surviving the war on a daily basis (or not, as the case may be), we are drawn head-long into the narrative, right through an explosive flurry of strange weaponry, stranger behavior and still-stranger diets, always being reminded that the worst is yet to come…
given the sheer cheek of Ambergrisians (and the book thus far), it isn't all that hard to imagine.