Oisín Curran - W. Bluebottle’s 24-hour romp through shifting times, places, and points of view in pursuit of his lost dog and ghost sister

Oisín Curran, Mopus, Counterpath Press, 2006.

"An astounding debut novel, written with courage, innovation, wisdom, style. Oisîn Curran leads us onto a topology of narrative surfaces that appear and disappear seamlessly: subway terrorists in an urban density, a bucolic meadow and stream, postapocalyptic devastation, a ninth century abbey, forty-fifth century conspiracies. The narrative here allows one to enter the creative guts of storytelling, to experience it as a living force. Curran is like Beckett, Woolf, Joyce, Barnes, Bernhard, Celine, Faulkner, in whose work powerful prose excavates the ground of narrative itself, and exposes the sources and necessity of storytelling."

“Ostensibly, Mopus is William Bluebottle’s 24-hour romp through shifting times, places, and points of view in pursuit of his lost dog and ghost sister. Curran’s masterful work of concise metafiction is cinematic and dreamlike, but it is also understated and lyrical. Like Kelly Link’s stories, the telling is matter-of-fact, but there is something eerie about the world it is set in. Some other works that come to mind are: Mark Danielewski’s 'Only Revolutions,' David Mitchell’s 'Cloud Atlas,' Flann O’Brien’s 'At Swim-Two-Birds,' and Jeanette Winterson’s 'Art and Lies.'”

"one of the best, genuinely experimental novels i’ve read in a long time… a daring and ambitious book, successful in its narrative high-wire act, oddly grounded in the current moment of apocalypse-always while circumventing completely the self-aggrandizing disaster movie poses. a consistent and non-sugary feeling of nostalgia, of remembrance of time just and long lost, sustained throughout.
structurally, this book’s the shit. or, to say it differently, it’s got beautiful answers to the novel’s problems of character and plot. why have we spent time playing with mobius strips and contemplating klein bottles? because their strange topologies are not only uncanny in their impossible possibility–but because they are metaphors for (or doorways to) the collapsed multi-possibilities of each particular existence. curran has composed an equivalent in prose, where doubles and ghosts and doppelgangers and recursive loops and variations on themes are all used to profound effect.
it’s a bit unsettling to not know where you are, which happens a fair amount, especially in the beginning, but the book slowly unfolds itself… and then refolds upon itself over and over… great books are worth reading again, but this one almost requires the second time through.
a close relative to two similarly slim, similarly cult-classic-y, dense episodic novels: david ohle’s MOTORMAN and jaimy gordon’s SHAMP OF THE CITY SOLO… but while i love those two books, MOPUS’ style, for better or worse, is less aggressive and confrontational than MOTORMAN’s and less pyrotechnic look-at-me than SHAMP. MOPUS is more straight-up lyrical, with rich and graceful passages describing place and nature. one downside: while in the midst of the book’s whirlwind, the characters’ emotional lives are rendered fairly straightforwardly, more surface-level observations and depictions than the deeper interiors one might expect…
but pretty damn great book. oh, and: after donald harington’s WITH and way better than auster’s silly TIMBUKTU–it’s got the best description of dog-mind i’ve ever." - Eugene Lim

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