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Showing posts from October, 2010

Jane Unrue - To be alive requires that we build a catalogue of like-like images and stolen words and phrases, things we can put to use

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Jane Unrue, Love Hotel, New Directions, 2015.
Working on behalf of a cunning and mysterious couple, a woman embarks on a haunting search for a stranger (a child? somebody’s lover? a ghost?), undertaking a perplexing, dangerous, and apparently timeless journey that originates on a secluded country estate and leads deep into the center of the city. Love Hotel explores a heartbreaking and nightmarish world of unrelenting excess, impossible convergences, undeniable urges, and inexorable loss. Jane Unrue’s writing, beautifully cunning and mysterious, twists and turns and lures the reader on with an erotic magnetism of its own. 
A mysterious couple invites a woman to visit their estate. Soon after meeting the pair, the woman, the central narrator in “Love Hotel,’’ finds herself slipping “into a halfway dreaming state in which I walked inside a tunnel,” which is a bit of the way most readers of this novel are likely to feel on check-in. Perhaps the couple recognized what a subtl…

Adam Levin reminds us that discovering you might be the messiah would be both a holy and hilarious thing: 'War and Peace' in middle school

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Adam Levin, The Instructions, McSweeney's, 2010.

"Beginning with a chance encounter with the beautiful Eliza June Watermark and ending four days later with the Events of November 17, this is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and a truly spectacular talker. Ejected from three Jewish day schools for acts of violence and messianic tendencies, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader of a very different sort, with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity. The Instructions is an absolutely singular work of fiction by an important new talent. Combining the crackling voice of Philip Roth with the encyclopedic mind of David Foster Wallace, Adam Levin has shaped a world driven equally by moral fervor and slapstick comedy—a novel that is muscular and rollicking, troubling and empathetic, monumental, …

Anders Nilsen - Random cruelty, futility, ennui, and an implied assault on human complacency are the order of the day

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Anders Nilsen, Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes, Fantagraphics Books, 2009.

“Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes takes up where the artist’s first volume, Monologues for the Coming Plague, left off. Like Coming Plague, Density of Black Holes is a creatively experimental laboratory, comprising a collection of free flowing stream-of-consciousness gags, strips, and drawings that slowly coalesce into an unexpectedly compelling and complex narrative. The hints of story that came together in Coming Plague are extrapolated and expanded upon and grow to incorporate some of Nilsen's other outré strips from the anthology MOME, two of which are reprinted here in expanded form. The book is an audacious investigation into the rhythms of storytelling, the blurring of media, and an exercise in reconciling contrasts. It is playful, provocative and serious all at once — another tour de force by Anders Nilsen, impeccably and uniquely designed, in monochrome and…