Axman

Photo © Mitch Weiss

Photo © Mitch Weiss

It was the guitar that made us stop for him, that and the unmistakable silhouette, in black, of Castle Bran painted on the white guitar case. The black suit and black and white striped shirt also helped. His hair was long and grey – once black? – and he was as tall and skinny as a lamppost. The only incongruous thing about him was the pair of tiny John Lennon glasses perched on his somewhat long nose.

'Axman' is a wonderfully weird offering from renowned poet and writer Matthew Sweeney, co-author with John Hartley Williams of the novel 'Death Comes for the Poets'. In 'Axman', Sweeney draws on his years in both Germany and Romania to create a unique tale of a guitar-wielding hitchhiker one couple will forever regret picking up, but will also never forget. Sean O'Brien describes Sweeney's approach at the British Literature Council website: "Disliking the term 'Magic Realism', he [Sweeney] has proposed the name 'Alternative Realism'. In this realm, the mundane world lies open to the proverbial, to the peremptory logic of folktale and to the possibility of nightmare derived from what Sweeney calls 'European darkness'." The darkness, humour and lingering mystery in 'Axman' make it a story well worth reading. CLICK HERE TO READ 'AXMAN'.