Reading

permafrost

I’ve started Many Subtle Channels by Daniel Levin Becker, as well as The Recognitions by William Gaddis.

Becker’s book is thoroughly charming so far, as any book concerning Oulipo should be. The Recognitions is funnier than expected. My previous experience with extremely long books is limited to 2666 and The Man Without Qualities. They’re both incredible books, but they haven’t made me laugh out loud as much as Gaddis’s book. I’m also fascinated by expressions of faith that fall outside the norm, and the book has those in spades.

I read M. Kitchell’s Variations on the Sun, from Love Symbol Press. Some thoughts on that after the jump.

Some basics: it’s a chapbook length experimental work. There are pages of text and pages of black and white pictures. Kitchell’s writing is more focused on poetics than narrative, but some terrifying repercussions (we could call it a plot) can be sussed out of the text.

Recurring elements: buildings, children, ruin, the existence then nonexistence of a body, negation, effects of time, earth, death.

For all its dream-like qualities, the story has some practical matters on its mind. The characters have to eat, have to sleep, have to heal. It gives the narrative momentum, some urgency.

The images are a good compliment to the text, not directly connected, but it wouldn’t make much sense if they were. The text has many sculptural elements, which suits the voice well.

Some sentences:

“We will dance, fight, scream, or put on ritualized plays that we write in our heads while we try to sleep at night.”

“The ordinary hallway is an oddly discordant use of space.”

“& we watch the fires burn out slowly, waiting to see the shapes that will remain.”

It’s available in ebook form from Love Symbol Press.

(Image Source)

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