The Settlements by O. Jaime Walsh / ISBN 9781999629816 / 236-page paperback with flaps, published in 2018 by Broodcomb Press / hand-numbered edition of 250
From my first batch of books from Broodcomb Press, a UK publisher specializing in weird fiction and beyond: "Encompassing poetry, strange tales and experimental fiction, Broodcomb Press is a home for the writing that belongs here: disquieting truths about the region ("the peninsula") – tales both eerie and shocking – together with exploring the fantastic/everyday meaning of what it means to be human."
Set in a community where people live according to their creative drives, this “endlessly surprising novel” embodies the philosophy that life is not a narrative with a beginning, a middle and an end. Challenging, experimental, yet also human, funny and deeply moving, The Settlements is about finding worth in stories and lives cast off or considered of no use; a book about the possibility and randomness of human growth; and ultimately a (curious) love story for those who are misfits beyond the age when it is cool to be so—
“In my role as omissioner, I receive summonses from all over the settlements. My function is to offer an ear, a valve for the bleeding of grief or worry or simply unspent chat, and to do this well I must adapt myself to those who live in different settlements. Anyone can call me. It costs nothing, and I offer no advice: all an omissioner does is listen, finding worth in words that would otherwise remain unspoken or forgotten.”