Paper Tiger: A Meta-Narrative

When I read [Sebastian Horsley’s] Dandy in the Underworld I came out of its dark humor and melancholy sadness left with questions that I wanted answered. I wondered how someone so honest, sympathetic and full of wit could just throw himself into the abyss of misery; there had to be something buried beneath. [Jasun’s Paper Tiger] demystified the facade behind his brother’s antics with astonishing honesty.

~Amazon reviewer

There is a mythic narrative or archetypal blueprint concealed beneath the surface of our lives. It drives us without our being aware of it. It pulls our strings. If we dig deep enough beneath the surface details of our lives, we may get to see those strings. If we approach the abstract core of our being, we will find that we are not the person we thought we were, that we have been living a myth without knowing it. Myths are maps of the collective psyche. As individuals, we are like holographic fragments of that psyche. In a searing exploration of his relationship to his brother (the late artist Sebastian Horsley), Jasun Horsley strips bare his and his brother’s childhood history to reveal the mythic bones of an age-long struggle between siblings: as old as the story of Cain and Abel.

A review from the Ungoogleable Michelangelo:

Quick and breezy read, unpretentious and honest, but a deep and felt reflection, seemingly effortless in its clarity. Full of Jasun’s typical self-reflective insights and analysis, elegant pattern perception, poetic observations, and artful composition–Now imbued with bizarre, iconic pop-byzantine illustrations, as well!

His penmanship draws a mythic bloodline in ink that outlines the existential scenes of a crime, uncommitted to paper ~ The Brother’s omission of The Other Brother from his biography, save a stanza or two.

As usual, the author examines himself in relation (and retaliation) to the forces that have influenced and formed his self-perception, exfoliating layers of dead (s)kin, in an attempt to reset the etch-a-sketch of his conditioning, and address the vestiges of The Other within The Self.

In turn, it offers the reader a glimpse into the surface of a universal (insert-your-own-story-here) mirror. In the end all that remains standing are the unquestioned instruments with which the dissection has been executed–mainly Freudian and Jungian psycho-analytical tools that reduce the paper tiger to oedipal ash, with mythic smoke-signals rising up from the noise.

Of Cain & Abel, Christ & Lucifer, Horsley & Horus, (Ja)Son & Set.

Jasun authors an autopsy. Sharp and cutting, this author’s pen stabs at his subject to give the brother a taste of his own poison/medicine, injecting his impenetrable defenses with Truth, in hopes of healing the sores of Sorcery inflicted by this sibling’s influence. The stark contrast between the two Horsleys in reaction to their upbringing is striking and archetypal–one focused on perfecting a revered venereal veneer that parades his wounds around as if they were adornments, while the other digs deep into the wounds to conjure an inner top-hat to tip, as if wounds were rabbit-holes and underworlds were wonderlands. In a beautifully staged role reversal, like the hunter and the hunted–two go in, one comes out–the victim and the victor are made one in acknowledgment of their complicity in the co-creative destructivity of one and other.

They tip their respective hats, and go their separate ways, into the Sun/Set.


“what can I tell you, my brother, my killer
what can I possibly say
I guess that I miss you
I guess I forgive you
I’m glad you stood in my way”
-L.Cohen

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