I took advantage of the recent reissue of Jeff VanderMeer’s Veniss Underground (originally published in 2003) to fill in a lamentable gap in my reading. What worked best for me in this novel were the creatures VanderMeer conjures—segmented worms turning into flying maps, ray-like creatures in a subterranean sea and the unforgettable Gollux.
In the afterword, there’s a writing fragment, which illuminates the novel, and a great background story about York Minster providing the inspiration for the writing process. These insights were unexpected and fascinating.
I recommended this book if you like phantasmagorical imagery and dark humour.