I’ll never get anything else done. Actually, I owe three more that I need to get done soon. Anycase, two went up at Word Riot the other day. Also, finally got back into the novel. 5,000 words today. Meant to get 10,000 but this is a good start and I’ll probably get another thousand or two down tonight, hopefully, and make up the rest over the next couple days.
But, yes, the reviews.
Gregory Sherl’s Monogamy Songs is a memoir masquerading as novel masquerading as collection of prosepoems or perhaps it is none of those things or perhaps all of them but in reverse. Perhaps it is the first mixtape in his soon to be announced rap career or a mixtape he made from the collected scribblings of a lonely and broken heart meant for friends or new lovers about former lovers. It is a constantly surprising and confounding read, so distinct, even from itself, that there is really no proper way to categorise what it does or what Sherl attempts to do here.
I am not a fan of serial killer fiction or even, really, transgressive literature. I find that they tend to be done more for shock and the grotesque than for any larger purpose, be it critical or satirical or academic. And so, though I was excited for Seidlinger’s new novel, I had serious reservations, reservations that he quickly shattered by subverting all expectations and invigorating a topic I thought best left to documentarians and forensic psychologists.
And then a few new reviews of my novel Ash Cinema have gone up at goodreads:
I’ve already remarked on this book elsewhere, so I’m not going into the story proper.
Once upon a time, writers were described in terms of their “vision.” “Vision” implied overtones more of purpose and truth, than technique or style. A writer with “vision” could sometimes break through the noise of the crowd—someone who knew why he or she wrote a particular story. I believe Ash Cinema fits this description.
The prose in this book is as beautiful as anything I’ve ever read (including Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeard Angel” and “Of Time and the River”). I believe Mr. Rathke is destined to be someone special—what some would call a writer’s writer. So he probably can’t look forward to making a lot of money in the “real world.” But maybe he’ll have a passionate cult following.
Here’s to old Edward J.
Ash Cinema tangentially addresses the life of the fictional avant-garde filmmaker Sebastian Falke, from three very different perspectives: an old man who once collaborated on Falke’s films; a woman who was formerly the platonic lover (lover, that is, in everything but the physical sense) of a writer who was obsessed with finding Falke and his long-lost films; and the teenage girl who was Falke’s lover at the very end of his life. Though (tangentially) about Falke, the book is really about grief, longing and trying to bring lost loves back across decades through writing about them. The book is haunting, obsessive, mournful and yet somehow triumphant, and eloquently and passionately written. A thoroughly impressive debut novel from a very talented young writer.