Set Aflame & Allowed to Spread: Typo by Fran Drummond Moray



Fran Drummond Moray

Filament Publishing, 2015


3.5/5 Stars


Stream of consciousness prose is inherently the domain not of the novelist but of the poet. Yet, a particular kind of poet, one who refuses the order of linebreaks just as she refuses the organization of paragraphs still reveling in the beauty of the bizarre phrase, the quixotic allusion, and the faux mathematics of metaphor as code. The character of such works is typically the author’s own mind, but set aflame and allowed to spread. Such prose poetry refuses being set into a genre, which can be both freeing and maddening for readers. Frances Tara Stirling Home Drummond Moray, whose name alone gives you a peek into the kind of writing you ought to expect, has crafted with Typo a work that resists narrative while enticing you to impose one and sings lyrically without giving over to empty pastoralism.

I cannot say that readers will find the whole of Typo satisfying. There are sections feeling as though they were in need of a strident editor and others where the mania of the prose feels forced. Yet those criticisms can be hung around the neck of all stream of consciousness writing. We read it not despite these flaws, but because at certain points the fury of the writing will achieve an accord freeing the reader’s mind to not just appreciate the writers own purpose but to spark their own wonder. Moray finds these moments regularly with Typo.

For example, in the first third of the book we encounter one of those delightful moments that seem to offer us a key to the entirety of work but then coils back on itself leaving us feeling maddened:

“In this manner the course of sentences had invariably would along the veering tip of lullaby just as shoes would show had they the print of passage. Upward strait of diverse literature planted good stubs for the path of march fence. Decisive trances were feeding pigeons when they came to trans live good practice. Charlatan gooseberry winch mirror worry on reflective shoe stickers. More to this than shes said the auto pilot in remote control thunder to the sparrow.”

There is visceral performance to Moray’s prose even when one reads it silently in one’s own mind. This style of writing is more akin to the acting methods of disciples of Antonin Artaud than to any literary movement. Moray’s strengths are her phrasing and spoken-word like fluidity keeping a reader’s eye and mind moving. To read Typo is to experience a book, to read and then re-read, and being urged to perform. Rarely have I found a book that urges me to say its words aloud and in so doing feel it more thoroughly, its humor and seriousness.


Author Bio


Frances lives in Perthshire and has met lots of people once, including Leonardo Di Caprio. She studied criminology, philosophy, history and history of art at Edinburgh University. She hopes this 40-year-old bipolar book will give her another upwardly mobile holiday. She likes getting engaged, interior design, painting, photography, Roald Dahl and recycling. This book is for you if you’ve ever wondered what magic is. The author once completed the Tour de France when she beat Lance Armstrong with a milkshake. There are autistic and PTSD elements. This book was written after a dream about Alan Bennett.

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