Brendan Connell’s Jottings From A Far Away Place is a book that’s hard to define. I mean, it definitely falls into at least one category: a very good book – but passed that, it falls into its own categories. It’s been a long time since a title has fitted a book so suitably, other than being just a direct phrase or recall from an event. Jottings From A Far Away Place suits the book because – for lack of better terms – it’s a short story collection that bleeds from the random and the surreal.
Stories in this book seem random. They are often just structured and broken up into numbered lists. Random sentences that flow together to create something beautiful, like a jigsaw, except each piece works standalone, so that even if you don’t finish building it, it’s something wonderful. Usually, this kind of randomness wouldn’t work in a book – lots of books rely on being surreal and difficult to comprehend without anything else making it worthwhile reading. Connell truly managed to find an art in putting together sentences that others wouldn’t see. Like he studied Burroughs’ cut up art and took it that extra step forward.
These stories come from a lucid-dream like place. Each sentence feels as if it was jotted down straight from waking up, in a land well beyond the cohesive thought, born somewhere in between madness and beauty.
I wouldn’t put this book in the hands of people looking for a strong narrative and conventional storytelling. I wouldn’t want to waste my time, nor there’s, because this isn’t a book for them. They’d miss out on some of the greatest books ever written and I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, just feel sad that they weren’t reading Jottings From A Far Away Place.
Jottings From A Far Away Place is a book that exists somewhere in the back of our mind that we’re not sure that we can truly locate. The sentences come out as random whispers, but come together to form a loud and beautiful voice. The nonsensical ramblings are rooted in such rich imagination that each one could be a fairy tale to be read to children at night.
Pick this book up, carry it around with you. Read it when you feel stressed, silly, happy, it doesn’t really matter because it taps into that something special – just read it.