Strange Horizons, April 3, 2017

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Strange Horizons, April 3, 2017

Love pressed in Vinyl” by Devon Wong

Reviewed by Alexandros Zochios

Malik finds the dead body of his ex-boyfriend Josh and along with it an unlabeled vinyl record. That record is the only possession of Josh’s that Malik has left and he soon gets entangled by its mysterious origin.

The author, Devon Wong, uses rain throughout his story, and more specifically raindrops, as a means of communicating Malik’s identity concerns, as well as his view on passing life. Although Malik finds his lost lover dead, that doesn’t seem enough to upset him. However, listening to the record that he found—although snatching that record without giving any strong reason has already made us suspicious about his state—is catalytic enough. An event that upon finding it he enters into a Lynchian world, where we understand that what we see—or actually read—is not what matters but what lies beneath.

The dialogue and the character’s everyday life could have been easily taken from real life. This is what makes us fall easier and quicker into the story, like raindrops in the rain (as Malik would say).

However, these bizarre happenings in Malik’s world, apart from being metaphorical as those occurring in our dreams, are also unexplained. We are not sure exactly who is responsible for what is happening or why. In the end, we can only try to reach a satisfactory interpretation or at least get a sense or a feeling that may take us somewhere.