The gorgeously created and lovingly produced objet d'art (thanks to Jay MillAr), Expeditions of a Chimæra, by Vancouverite Oana Avasilichioaei and Montréaler Erin Mouré, almost defies description: Expeditions, taken up by the explorers we all are, ultimately cannot be read. Only experienced.
On venturing into it, you'll find your ticket is no good, expired or valid only on Tuesday. Your fellow travellers will tell you that you are wearing the wrong shoes. If you force your way past the gate, you will stub your toe, scrape your shins, lose your suitcase, throw the book across the room in a fit of outrage or fall under its spell and suddenly find it half-submerged in your bathwater. At times, you will even laugh aloud.
Expeditions of a Chimæra is dialogic. Four pairs of hands try their luck at a game of cards. Nearby, questions sit, waiting to be asked. These expeditions are not progressions but digressions; they are translational in their effort to pull the author, kicking and screaming, out of the hat of authorial impossibilities:
You're me I'm you She's we We's it Us they thee: huh? What if the first one To turn the page (there's still a page) Plays author. It's safe that way. OK. Ready?
It sings with the kind of pellucid confabulations inviting (sacral or secular) communion, interaction or saturation, both in terms of the marks on the page as well as their worth and value beyond it, not merely reflected but fiercely enacted, sailing through cautionary slips of literary, cultural and philosophical seas, nuanced with introspection and the continuous stutter of reinvention, a solipsistically even-handed and sure-footed anchoring in this glorious universe, one yin-yang mindfulness of a distinguished pair of twos at full-throttle blip-zap revolutions per nanosecond on the time-space continuum where voracious readers grow as much with this gracefully disgraceful work as it grows with grateful readers.
Contributing reviewer and In Other Words blogger Judith Fitzgerald lives in Northern Ontario's Almaguin Highlands. She is completing her 30th work, a poetry collection provisionally titled Rogue Lightning, slated for 2010 release.