The Vorrh

The Vorrh

by Brian Catling


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Prepare to lose yourself in the heady, mythical expanse of The Vorrh, a daring debut that Alan Moore has called “a phosphorescent masterpiece” and “the current century's first landmark work of fantasy.” 

Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes  memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse. Armed with only a strange bow, he begins his journey, but some fear the consequences of his mission, and a native marksman has been chosen to stop him. Around them swirl a remarkable cast of characters, including a Cyclops raised by robots and a young girl with tragic curiosity, as well as historical figures, such as writer Raymond Roussel and photographer and Edward Muybridge.  While fact and fictional blend, and the hunter will become the hunted, and everyone’s fate hangs in the balance, under the will of the Vorrh.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101873786
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 232,489
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

B. Catling is a poet, sculptor and performance artist, who makes installations and paints egg tempera portraits of imagined Cyclops. He has had past solo shows at The Serpentine Gallery, the Arnolfini in Bristol and the Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Hordaland Kunstnersentrum in Bergen, Norway, Project Gallery in Leipzig, and the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford.

Read an Excerpt

The bow I carried with me into the wilderness, I made of Este.

She died just before dawn, ten days before. She had seen her death while working in her garden, saw the places between plants where she no longer stood, an uncapping of momentum in the afternoon sun. She prepared me for what had to be done. Walking back into our simple house and removing her straw hat, returning it to its shadow and nail on the north wall.

She was born a seer and some part of her seeing lived in the expectancy of her departure, a breeze before a wave, before a storm. Seers die in a threefold lapse, from the outside in. The details and confinement of each infolding must be carefully marked and heard without panic or emotion on my part, for now I am given a different role. We say goodbye during the days leading to her night. Then all of my feelings must be put away; there are more important rituals to perform. All this I knew, from our first agreement to be together it had been described, it had been unfolded. Our love and companionship grew in the confines and the constantly open door of its demand, and secretly I rehearsed my distance and practiced the deceit of loneliness.

I stood before our solid wooden table with her blood drying stiff on my skin, her body divided and stripped into the materials and language. As I stood with my back and hands aching from the labour of splitting her apart, I could still hear her words. The calm instruction of my task repeated over and over again, embedded with a singsong insistence to erase my forgetfulness and its fence of doubt. The entire room is covered in blood, yet no insect will trespass this space, no fly will drink her, no ant will forage her marrow. We are sealed against the world during these days and my task is determined, basic and kind.

I have shaven long flat strips from the bones of her legs. I have plaited sinew and tendon, stretched muscle into interwoven pages. I have bound them with flax that she cut from the garden. I have made the bow of these, setting the fibres and grains of her tissue in opposition. The now raw arc will congeal, twist and shrink into its proportion of purpose. I have removed her unused womb and placed her dismembered hands inside it. Sealing closed the misshapen ball that sometimes moves a little in its settling. I have shaved her head and removed her tongue and eyes; they are now folded inside her heart.

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