It was with great sadness that I learned this week of the passing of Avalon Brantley.
I had a small personal connection, having shared the pages of the anthology ‘Sorcery and Sanctity: A Homage to Arthur Machen‘ with her wonderful story ‘Great Seizers’ Ghost’. A story which to my mind encapsulates all that made her such a peerless writer: a sense of complete mastery of the sources be they esoteric, historical or literary coupled with a prose style of effortless complexity and beauty.
No journeyman years for her, Avalon seemed to spring forth onto the scene like Athena from the head of Zeus, fully-formed and at the height of her powers. I will always be in awe of ‘Aornos‘ that strange and unclassifiable piece of Greek tragedy redivivus which was her first published work.
Avalon the person was an enigma to many: modest and self-effacing, yet always willing to engage with her readers. I have a sense of someone who had read and thought deeply about the world and was still exploring how our human experience could be annotated and examined via the written word. And if the reader sometimes felt challenged by her works, it was because the profound nature of the questions they addressed demanded more than a simple casual engagement.
Her only collection ‘Descended Suns Resuscitate‘ appeared in 2014 with her recent output scattered amongst various anthologies from Ex Occidente, Egaeus and others. I do hope that these uncollected stories can be assembled at some point by a publisher into a fitting tribute to her legacy.
Perhaps her writing was of such a refined character that it was destined to appeal only to the few. But to those few (of which I count myself as one) her talent was held in the utmost regard.
Requiescat In Pace.
Note: A heartfelt appreciation by Alcibiades Diniz can be found at Bibliophage.