Gregorio and I got a little sidetracked on the 'Nine Hundred Grandmothers' thread into talking about Lafferty's neglected (I'm tempted to say 'little masterpiece') novel, Aurelia (1982). I was saying that where so many of Lafferty's novels feel like an Apocalypse, this one felt more like an Advent. Gregorio took it one step further and wondered whether it was Lafferty's attempt at the genre of 'Gospel'.
I found the book, whilst very funny at times and full of weird and sometimes grotesque wonder, also to be rather poignant and a little sad (in a 'touching' way, though not with any sentimental sense that word might imply). It almost felt like Lafferty's last will and testament or something.
Anyway, with all that rolling round my head and heart I came across the beautifully kitschy illustration by my wife below (posted today on her blog Flannery O'Kafka) and felt it resonating strongly and strangely with this novel about a young girl from another world set down on Earth in a mountainous village - who eventually receives violent rejection.
Amusingly, in this illustration there is also a cameo by Snuffles the alien ursine from Lafferty's short story of that name (or is that King Riksino, 'the cave-bear, the musk-bear', from his short story 'Frog On the Mountain'?) as well as by St Joseph who makes an appearance in Lafferty's novel East of Laughter! (My wife has read none of these, so any real resonances are unintentional on her part.)
Interestingly, Aurelia comes illustrated and I really didn't care for the sort of Mad Magazine style of drawing and felt the illustrations distracted and detracted from Lafferty's fine prose. I'm not opposed to comic book style art accompanying Lafferty's stories (in fact, I think I'd love to see some of his work translated to graphic novel format), but I'd sure love to also see more stuff like the above. Indeed, it's a collage-type style that reminds me just a bit of some of the 70s covers for Lafferty's books, such as these:
Here's hoping for a future of good art for Lafferty's re-published works!