Francesco Pedraglio - Conceived as a carefully staged gathering of texts slowly composing a unique, layered narrative, the book develops around a main character presented, like literature, as a corpse to be reanimated ad absurdum. This main story is then interrupted, fragmented and diverted from by other tales, stage directions and possible ‘scenarios’ that operate as proposals for narrative changes


Francesco Pedraglio, A man in a room spray-painting a fly... (or at least trying to...), Book Works, 2014.
           
Conceived as a carefully staged gathering of texts slowly composing a unique, layered narrative, the book develops around a main character presented, like literature, as a corpse to be reanimated ad absurdum. This main story is then interrupted, fragmented and diverted from by other tales, stage directions and possible ‘scenarios’ that operate as proposals for narrative changes.
The writing is woven together as a continuous interlocking prose. It utilises the mechanics of storytelling to reflect upon the relation between the perception of objects and the abstract working of our subjectivities as readers or writers.
Moving between and alluding to the different conditions of writing – whether film scripts, drama, letter writing, or mere notes for future projects – this is the first ‘novel’ by Francesco Pedraglio, presenting the possibility of a story within numerous other possible stories, and exploring the fault lines of communication between the text and the spoken performance.
Francesco Pedraglio is an artist and writer. He was one of the founding directors of FormContent, a fellow of Henry Moore Institute, and recently the editor of Time Machine, a series of experimental books published by Book Works.

Ostensibly A man in a room spay-painting a fly… (or at least trying to…) is a collection of London-based artist (and co-founder of the off-space FormContent) Francesco Pedraglio’s writings, readings and experimental artist responses. Yet these meander and flow into each other without discrete titles; some narratives are left to hang, and others recur throughout the 350-page text. No particular fictional arc is adopted – indeed, Pedraglio plays with the structures of fiction as much as he does that of the ‘collected writings’ format. Instead the book acts as a wayward fiction-producing machine, spewing out delightfully evocative sentences left, right and centre. The title is exemplary of this. See also ‘And that’s when they see the hanged sparrow for this first time,’ in which those twelve words spin off possible stories like a Catherine wheel. Or: ‘So there I am in such a dreadful restaurant – the heat, the vodka, the loud voices – with my non-acquaintance looking at me dispassionately.’
Similar to the work of theatre company Forced Entertainment (particularly their first durational performance 12 am: Awake & Looking Down, 1993), questioning ideas of how we produce fiction, or indeed any narrative discourse (and one could include the life story or the arc of history in this) proves to be Pedraglio’s project, most apparent in the recurring characters of Bruno and Martha. Martha is an old woman who dies repeatedly. A radical destruction of the linear narrative of life, this gains her a small but cult following that religiously attends her funerals, ad infinitum. Bruno is her housekeeper, and destroys the idea of the singular story in another manner, by ‘becoming’ various heteronyms, from Arturo, the Italian film critic exiled to Mexico, to Enrique, the boy who decides he wants to be a chair. Utilising these brilliantly painted characters Pedraglio’s dissection and theorising of storytelling is handled with such humour and verve that A man in a room… springs along at a sprightly pace, seemingly unencumbered by this ‘meta-’ baggage. - Oliver Basciano





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