An Dantomine Eerly is J.R. Middleton’s first novel. It will be released by Dark Coast Press on March 30th, 2010.
What initially attracted me to this book was curiosity about its derivation from the Irish aisling (“ASH-ling”), which was a word I had recently encountered as the protagonist’s name in Malinda Lo’s Ash, but had never heard before that. As it turns out, the aisling is a poetic form in which the isle of Ireland appears to the poet in a vision and gives prophecy about the future fortune of the Irish people.
I believe that in An Dantomine Eerly (which is apparently the name of the Irish psychopomp), the apparition-women, of which there are two or three, are not personifications of Ireland, but of the spirits and memories which guide the narrator in his quest to discover the fate of Dallin, another poet, and his wife Aisling.
This book is a surreal exploration of death and the secrets the lie at the end of the universe- because of this, and the author’s profound vocabulary, it becomes confusing at times. To be honest, for these parts of the book, I simply sat and read aloud, because whether or not you pick up on all of the vast meaning, it’s like reading a painting; you might not know precisely what the creator meant to say, but it’s still beautiful to look at, and you get the sense that there’s something profound just beyond your grasp. I postulate that Mr. Middleton did this deliberately, as it seems to match his message on the nature of death. The result is awesome in scope, and honestly, don’t be put off. Most of it is comprehensible to us mortals.
All in all, a delicious tragedy that isn’t for the faint of heart- or the low of reading level. Work past those moments of mystification and you’ll be well rewarded.
This book contains explicit sexual content.