21 Tuesday Oct 2014
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The latest addition to my website is Wilson Harris‘ Black Marsden. This is another enigmatic novel from Harris which I cannot claim to have fully understood or to have enjoyed. It concerns a man called Clive Goodrich, who is rich, having won the football pools, and who has bought a house in Edinburgh with the proceeds of his winnings. He meets a strange man called Dr Black Marsden (doctor of the soul, as Marsden describes himself) and invites Marsden and his troupe of strange people to stay with them. They are nominally going to put on a performance of Salomé at the Edinburgh Festival, with a chaste Salomé, but they seem to have another role, that of performing in Goodrich’s own tabula rasa drama. Goodrich wanders around Edinburgh, old and new, visits (perhaps in his mind) the town where he was born, called Namless, with one of Marsden’s troupe called Knife, who seems to be variously black, white and brown and tries to fathom out who or what he is. I am not sure that we ever do.