Quintessence of Dust - Craig Wallwork

While these surreal stories are very different in content they have something in common. In the core of the story is always a relationship of two people. It could be a father desperately trying to protect his young daughter; a deeply felt and long lasting friendship between a man and a minotaur; a man winning over the heart of a woman - with chocolate or killing off a demon (obviously both works); a woman giving birth to a child; husband and wife who are estranged from each other; a bestiality porn actress who meets a talking camel or a bit far-stretched (trust me in this) a man and his doctor. 

 

I believe Craig Wallwork to be deep down in his heart a romantic soul, even more so a humanist in the best sense of the wor(l)d. His stories can be quite vulgar on the surface. He doesnt shy away from anal humor of the juvenile kind but he is a bit of a trickster. Wallwork loves to push a lot of things into people´s openings. A couple of fingers into somebodys rectum; fruit and vegetables into a vagina or even pets and pillows (and more!) into one´s ear. Don´t ask. There is a bit of sex in those stories too, not of the sexy kind of sex. Just pure raw human passion. If you have a sensible stomach you might want to hold someone´s hand you trust while diving into this bizarre fiction.

 

At the end of the day its almost Beckettian how Craig Wallwork sees the world: Look at the ugly things in your life long enough until you can finally laugh about them.

 

Wallwork himself is a digger, like the old man who digs a hole in his backyard to find the devil. And lets face it: he has a point. Where should hell be exactly if not down under (and I am not talking about Australia now!). But into what he really digs is the human psyche. Only on first glance he is one of the surreal, bizarre kind but if you think hard, or just a little, really, you will see how touchingly human his characters are; how ever sweet he understands the unspoken grey areas of life. No denying that there are blissful moments in those stories but often they are full of losses. Losses of friendship, of beauty, of hopes and dreams, and there is abandonment. But not all is lost because Wallwork lets his characters remember their soul - and he makes them whole again.

 

My favorite story is those of the Minotaur. You dont have to educate yourself in Greek mythology if you are not familiar with the story but it certainly helps to recognize and catch all those fine references. Wallwork takes one of the most powerful Dionysian myths - even Ariadne is missing and replaced by a boy who turns into man - and makes it into something of its own. A unique and deep-felt reflection on friendship, how it changes and how it survives, how we mourn our losses and physical death, how ´we are all men of blood.´