Sunshine in the Valley
by Kyle Muntz
Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2010
222 pages / $14 Buy from Amazon
Through its ecstatic sweep and baroque grandeur, Sunshine in the Valley by Kyle Muntz espouses rays of creation that both illuminate and transfigure the atmosphere. It has an ethereal quality of infinite expansion, with a poetic opulence relating to a kind of freedom without a hint of anxiety or any inhibition. The feeling is like embracing the sky in fullest light – a celestial glow imparting splendor bathed in Uranian auras of mystery and rapture. Gazing through this diamond prism is a true delight.
Whether the setting of this feverish and visionary novel is another planet, another dimension, a separate cosmological plane, or a state of mind is not entirely clear at first, but it is idyllic and Arcadian, like a season in Saturnalia. The ethereal valley contains “more varieties of fruit than it did people, just as it held more flowers.” This world, populated by mysterious “childlike entities,” consists primarily of lush gardens, the sun, and living walls that enclose the valley. Laura has the power to grow flowers. Gidian is an Apollonian musician. And they frolic in the rays of creation like divine children aligned to some nebulous frequency that acts as a mental extension of sight. The “childlike entities” personally interact with visions and invisible dimensions where “all things are perpetually new.” These are a variety of interactive metaphysical forces and cosmic vibrations that come mainly from invisible realms. The intense beauty of Muntz’s prose feels in alignment with the rhythms of the universe – like Pachelbel’s Canon in D, a created yet naturalistic force of eternal dawn – the immortal light of creation.
Muntz adopts the Blakean idea that children are closer to God – closer to the primal truth of the universe. Luminous and innocent, they commune with the brilliant ancient wisdom of energy. This is a world where innocence and experience appear to be one, and all are endowed with the ability to project their consciousness out into the environment – to commune with the energy world. Check out the achingly beautiful opening paragraph, “We grew wings for the afternoon; we tore a path through the flowers. Bare feet on damp wet grass, the sound of singing. Landscape cut a profile, melding laughter and sunflower seeds, shadows and joy. We played all day in the hills, until the real dark came. Faces turned red from exhaustion, from running. Hands lofted dandelions as gifts to the wind. Naked fields and a bright flaming eye, the sunrise screaming. Jacob rolled into a patch of goldenrod; Laura prayed for nature; Gidian sang songs about morning.”
While reading Sunshine in the Valley I felt as if halfway between reality and dream. It transfigured my perception in a beautiful flight of fantasy where the metaphysical interacts with the physical. This is a world endowed with alternate perceptions, and a world of appearances. “Ghost-currents” carry them forward. In the world there is only energy, light and darkness. When energy shifts, it becomes something else. It becomes imaginative, or a part of identity. The universe is personally distending itself – going in and out of focus – adding and subtracting dimensions. It is disorienting yet feverishly beautiful, glowing with a radiance that shines so bright – like a brilliant piece of Moldavite crystal, its otherworldly beauty is metaphysical. It comes from another dimension – a dimension bathed in light.
Noon is a time of “unparalleled beauty.” The sun is the eye of God. Primordial resonance expands through the saturation of elemental forces. The world of Sunshine in the Valley is close to the super-conscious vastness that is immeasurably ripe with subtle elements. The ancient energy world is larger and ineffably more ancient and complex than our limited earthly world. These subtle elements of the energy world have an investment in matter and in time. It is enormous beyond measure because it includes all of space and all of time. All that is seen and unseen is totally ensnared, totally enmeshed in the energy world.
“Dislocated, I undertook many journeys—seeing inside minds, replacing myself with them. Emerging from darkness I re-became that darkness, fulminating in long bands across a clear sheet of images; that sheet was the sky, and those bands the elongated semblance of a soul, threaded in specious dimension, dredging the flyways.”
An iridescent and fanciful communion of sensation and perception with vision and the elements is almost tangible as the entities yearn for the cosmic ecstasy of unseen dimensions. “Chiseled out of energy,” they attempt to unfold the wings of perception to the infinite. Impossible geometries and the arcane praxis of movement in this world is complex and oddly resonant, “Taking a step (in one sense, just not a physical one) she slipped into that spiral vortex, gravitating into a diamond, tumbled in multiple directions. The diamond morphed to a hexagram, endlessly in flux; the hexagram projected from a single point, but that point hung everywhere, even outside it. She became a turquoise blob sketched lime-green upon a jiggling surface; seeming to watch herself from above, like an object submerged beneath water. Her wriggling, subliminal self reeked of contained growth. Perception panned backwards. She saw another, and that was her too. But outside herself, from within, she felt something else, flowing in her, as she flowed with it, parallel to many other things.”
Sunshine in the Valley is a fantastic and metaphysical novel that acts as a rejuvenating nutrient in tune with the secret ingredient of creation. The slow revelation of the valley’s true nature brings a full spectrum of vision, and has an aesthetic that relates more to Annie Besant’s The Ancient Wisdom than any imaginative fiction I know of. The experience of reading Muntz’s magisterial prose is transformative. The narrative creates a dream bridge. It is a rainbow bridge from the invisible into the visible. In exposing its coded elements it transfigured my perception through brilliant rays of creation.
Chris Moran is the author of Poison Vapors (Solar Luxuriance, 2011). He lives in Columbus, Ohio and blogs at http://subtlefields.blogspot.com/