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 Post subject: Junkyard Thoughts on Junkyard thoughts
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 2:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:52 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Slower Lower, Delaware, USA
Being only a few months short of “Four score and seven years ago” I take this opportunity to pretty much say what I think with no thought of offending visiting literati or followers. The other day when browsing Lafferty reviews and bits of bio., I came across the suggestion that Lafferty fans, name favorite stories of their hero. This respondent finds that to be a very difficult task. I muse, What a tangled web we 'weave should we fail to deceive. There are many stories, and I like something about most of them regardless of classification. It may be true that an author's true personality can be known by what he puts into print. Some of RAL's stories are horror tales, many are well done fantasy, almost believable, and some beggar description, abounding in obscure meanings. We see what he deigned to put to paper, but what is missing in the reviews is the hell the man held within himself. Like another renowned author, I can believe the innermost man had a crutch that opened his innate being. It was addictive and contained not within green leaves but glass bottles. His theological side was not just a leaning, but overshadowed all, serving as a reservoir for the human frailities appearing so realistically in his stories. The tales containing humor or deadpan wit, as many or most do, are all favorites. Narrow Valley was the one that caused me to toss gullible credence aside, and avidly continue with an author who, often seems to be descending from an ill spent weekend, or is a borderline mental case. In short, the author serves well as a psychiatric case study should the medical establishment include legitimate students of the mind. Some of his short stories exceed my ability to classify them. Here, one can put aside the personality and admire the product of a deranged mind. One reviewer of Lafferty holds that one gets out of his stories what one is equipped to bring into them. We all should admit to a shortage of what we bring, because, in essence, too much of a similar vein could identify us as suffering from similar mental turmoil. All of that may be true, but Lafferty used written English as few others can. Comparing him to other authors may be satisfying, however difficult, for he had too many faces for acceptable comparison. In any event, he was a gifted storyteller with an intellectual, theological background who sometimes appeared to make mockery of religion or values, but never does.
Because each succeeding story becomes a favorite one, I take the path of least resistance and right now I say Junkyard Thoughts is my favorite. Junkyard Thoughts begins with identification of the characters who include, a pawnshop proprietor, a detective who is his long standing friend and last, but not least, Junkyard, who is a dog shining with qualities all dog owners confer on their own four footed friends. Still, few dog people are able to claim a mutt that gives his owner whispered tips, and plays a good game of chess himself. I'm still not sure just who Junkyard is in the final scene, and RAL probably wasn't either?
It would be giving things away to go any further about the involved plot, but for me, I reflect that the characters in the story have multiple personas, an ongoing case of schizophrenia (?) that contributes to a mixed up detective tale, albeit with an excellent, part 3 ending. Possession of multiple personalities is a device used by Lafferty in other stories to a lesser or greater extent. Our own possession of additional personalities, we prefer to call moods, allows us to empathize with RAL that “sane men do not define boundaries and limens very well”.
Lafferty has Drumhead imbibing a portion of his rather large stock of Chateau Serpent Blonde 1907 which is indeed a clue to Lafferty's own preference while creating scenarios on the level of Junkyard Thoughts.
I liked Junkyard Thoughts and enjoyed the story without a re-reading required.

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