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Engelbrecht Again!

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Engelbrecht Again!

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Author: Rhys Hughes
Publisher: Dead Letter Press, 2008

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Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
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Engelbrecht Again! is one of the funniest, funnest, original and highly imaginative books that I've read in a while. The exploits of the dwarf surrealist boxer are so downright whacky at times that you just shake your head and wonder how in the hell did Hughes come up with this scenario because he's one of those writers that is popping with ideas. His throwaway ideas would be other, lesser writers' centerpiece ideas.


Every so often, the old Id grows weary of the Gothic style and declares a return to Classicism. He doesn't take it so far as to pull down Nightmare Abbey and erect a villa in its place. He settles for wrapping togas around the gargoyles. It's an attitude thing apparently. At such times, what he doesn't know about the glory that was Greece, or the grandeur that was Rome, isn't worth carving on an olive-stone. First he starts up the wine-presses in his cellar. Then he excavates the original amphitheatre in his extensive grounds, piles cushions on the tiered seats and throws a decadent party. The Id had clearly forgiven that insult, for now he sent us a fleet of chariots with rubber practice scythes attached to the wheels, and they clattered the entire membership of the Surrealist Sporting Club down rutted lanes. The awful bulk of the Abbey loomed ahead, but the dreadful effect was softened by the sweet strains of a lyre plucked from one of the turrets. Presently our host came down to greet us with blistered fingers. He had a garland of ivy on his head and sunglasses fashioned from two halves of an enormous grape. I looked out for slave-girls but there were none to be had. All the other ancient details were in order, so there was no room for complaint. Baths of milk fed by miniature aqueducts, lions in sandals and poisoned eunuchs.

He led us into the Arena and Engelbrecht drew out a sharpened salad-fork from under his robe, turning it so that the starlight reflected into my eyes. He realised he was going to be disappointed at about the same time I did. There was a musical play going on right at the centre, some dreary rubbish entitled The Sound Of Mastic, and we had to sit and watch it. Hardly the orgy of violence hoped for by the plucky dwarf. But he put his modest trident to good use when the refreshments were passed around, for when I dipped my thumb into a dish of Pisum Indicum he took this inverted digit as a signal to stab three poor peas at once.

Copyright © 2008 by Rhys Hughes


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