I’m going to come right out and say that I didn’t like Tracy Auch’s The Necrophilic Landscape on my first read, and I liked it even less on the second. It’s messy and disjointed and thick. But I am including it here because it is utterly fascinating — not in a “can’t help but rubber neck a car wreck” way, but instead because it is so far out of my conceptions of storytelling and because of the secret truth it reveals, a dark truth that we all know, but don’t want to face.
2dCloud says of The Necrophilic Landscape, “Drawn in 2010 and never completed or published, Tracy Auch’s gothic, grotesque, and fragmentary epic is presented for the first time in this riso-printed ashcan edition. The anxious and darkly comic narrative takes place in an all-male world in which sexual reproduction does not exist and the primary class division in society is between men and children. With the thematic sensibility of Nikolai Gogol’s short stories and the suggestive, world-building scope of British roleplaying fantasy art, The Necrophilic Landscape is certain to enthrall and disgust readers who can finally encounter it for the first time.”
Enthrall and disgust — an apt description which speaks to that part of us we often mask, the one who is fascinated by that which abhors. It speaks to the duality of our soul, the constant struggle between the ego and the id, the Apollonian and the Dionysian, order vs. chaos. The Necrophilic Landscape works in that liminal realm, and reading it reminds us of this struggle.
I didn’t like the experience of The Necrophilic Landscape, but, because of what it is and what it says, I am convinced it is something we all should read.