The Transfiguration Of Mister Punch features new writings by Cate Gardner, Charles Schneider and D.P. Watt.
But what - I hear you ask – is it all about? For some – for most perhaps - the very name of Punch will be enough ignite in their minds pictures of grotesque and cracked lacquered wooden things, of bells and distended bellies and moon-shaped grinning heads; or else they might find themselves involuntarily drawn to some garish childhood memory of fairground pandemonium or the melancholic sounds of candystriped tarpaulin flapping on some windblown seafront where Punch and his associates screeched and capered for their entertainment. Yet for all their pin-prickly poignancy, these thoughts are essentially superficial, grounded as they are in basic sentimentality.
The Transfiguration Of Mister Punch proffers something more complex. It is the work of three celebrated contemporary writers, working more or less in isolation from one another to produce what might be termed a literary triptych – a three panelled piece – fantastical in its parts, suggestive in its entirety of a reality altogether out of this dream we call life. A reality behind that little rectangle of gloom and plywood scenery where the myth of Punch is played out in time honoured fashion to the human world. This is the wondrous and dreadful, tragical and comical domain of Mister Punch & Co., fettered no more by the manipulations of humanity; real living things, breathing, large as life, real as the stars.
The contents of the book reads thusly:
“The Show That Must Never Die” by Charles Schneider - A curious and rambling essay with certain grand, glorious and once-secret revelations.
“Memorabilia” by D.P. Watt - An evening’s entertainment for two players, incorporating a number of singular tales.
“This Foolish & Harmful Delight” by Cate Gardner – A grotesque novella set in hell and theatreland, concerning love, death, dismemberment and a mechanical heart.
The book is a lithographically printed, 256 page sewn hardback with colour endpapers. It is limited to 300 copies.
ISBN 978-0-957160637. Published February 2013.