I live in the Youngstown area, where the majority of Noah Cicero's fiction is set, and I never thought of myself as white trash until I read The ColleI live in the Youngstown area, where the majority of Noah Cicero's fiction is set, and I never thought of myself as white trash until I read The Collected Works of Noah Cicero Vol. I....more
Other than the story "Sasquatch" from his other collection Bed, this was my introduction to Tao Lin's short fiction and I really, really loved it. EacOther than the story "Sasquatch" from his other collection Bed, this was my introduction to Tao Lin's short fiction and I really, really loved it. Each story was either very funny or very sad, or it possessed a magnificent intertwining of severe funniness and severe sadness that I've never experienced from any other author before. Some favorites of mine included "Driveway," "Cancer," "Tapei, Taiwan," "Mistake," and "The Novelist."...more
Ever since I first discovered asemic writing, I've read a lot of it. Without any basis as far as who's who in the literary movement, I simply immersedEver since I first discovered asemic writing, I've read a lot of it. Without any basis as far as who's who in the literary movement, I simply immersed myself into whatever I could find and I haven't stopped yet. In fact, I believe it would be accurate to say that I've only just begun. Sure, I've read plenty of Tim Gaze, John M. Bennett, Sheila E. Murphy, Andrew Topel, etc., etc. But how could I have gone so long without reading the works of the man who is expanding the asemic fanbase more than anyone else out there right now--the man who has even been kind enough to publish a few of my own asemic writings? I'm not quite sure how "The Giant's Fence" slipped past me and my reading agenda for such a stretch of time, but now that I have read it at last, I am truly impressed. Presented in this 84-page novella is a plethora of aspects absolute to the asemic reader (or at least, the asemic reader within myself): dynamicity, consistency, creativity, authenticity... The trans-symbolic script incorporates a wide variety of asemic influences, including xenoglyphics and calligraphic sketches, in order to make "The Giant's Fence" an ideal example of asemia in correlation with literature. Though not my personal favorite work, this one has it all, and it seems that quite a few important figures of the movement would agree. After all, "The Giant's Fence" has been glitched by Tim Gaze and, just recently, reinvented by Jean-Christophe Giacottino. Quite frankly, this book is essential to the asemic enthusiast....more
To present a film that is 72 minutes and 5 seconds of pure green screen...To release a CD-R album that is nine realizations of John Cage's 4'33"...ObeTo present a film that is 72 minutes and 5 seconds of pure green screen...To release a CD-R album that is nine realizations of John Cage's 4'33"...Obession is a key component to being a true artist. (Most people know that Stanley Kubrick had hand-typed each and every page of the script prop for his adaptation of "The Shining.") Such obsession requires an elimination of the fear that whatever result(s) will not be widely and warmly accepted. Nigel Tomm has shown none of this fear throughout his entire career as an absurdist, and "Scarlett Johansson Asked..." is a true, shining example of his bravery as a writer.
All 23 volumes of "The Blah Story" had drawn much infamity and attention to Nigel Tomm long before he had become a filmmaker. The intention of the novel was complete, unadulterated personalization for the reader. Few other novelists have ever been able to establish such a personal connection to their audiences. Nigel Tomm now furthers this idea with a recent quintet of long-titled books, all of which sport a similar phallic cover. "Scarlett Johansson Asked..." seems to possess an extremely strong potential to expand beyond merely being a companion piece to Tomm's blah volumes though. Within this novel's 226 pages could be an underlying theme of nonchalant music and/or free spirits. Who knows though? Nigel Tomm himself is an enigma; he is occupied with an avantgarde metaverse that no other writer has ever reached.
The obsession of an artist also commands acknowledgement of some sort. Reading the entirety of this book is equally obsessive, especially since a cycle of paragraphs eventually repeats itself until the end. I didn't mind the experience though. In fact, I embraced it. Such an obsessively bizarre novel deserves respect. A friend of mine had told me to write this review using the book's style of "ooh la la" and "taram pam pam" insertions. Doing so would suggest that anyone could write "Scarlett Johansson Asked..." though. Only someone as bold as Nigel Tomm could offer such a literary trek....more
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There is much that I could say about it, but I think that it would be preferable for you to just read it and experienI thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There is much that I could say about it, but I think that it would be preferable for you to just read it and experience it yourself....more
The POMES in this collection are significantly more accessible than Beamer's other works, but they are nonetheless just as enticing and challenging anThe POMES in this collection are significantly more accessible than Beamer's other works, but they are nonetheless just as enticing and challenging and brave and beautiful. I especially enjoyed "Georgic Shaggy Charming" for its references to James Joyce's Ulysses....more
Rarely before has a book of any sort served as such an otherworldly experience. Much like "A Crackup at the Race Riots," these collected fanzines chalRarely before has a book of any sort served as such an otherworldly experience. Much like "A Crackup at the Race Riots," these collected fanzines challenge the separation between fantasy and reality--loveliness and repulsion. For instance, a great majority of this collection consists of celebrity rumors (such as "LLARY KINGS FEET STINK" and "The Oak Ridge Boys smile upon incest") that certainly blur what is merely from Korine's warped mind and what is actually true. Some of these 'zines are wonderfully heartbreaking, while others are morbidly humorous. Nonetheless, each page of each fanzine unlocks a socially despised door or opens a clouded, misty window of contemporary life without compromise nor reason. In this manner, the collection greatly reflects "Gummo" with its inspirational presentation of what usually is left unmentioned. Certain pages of these fanzines (especially "My Friend or Sheep Boy") appear as direct companion pieces to the film and even its screenplay. They read like naiveté anecdotes from Solomon's next door neighbor or Tummler's imaginary friend. Manipulated photos of wrecked jalopies and decrepit homes move far enough to suggest themselves as documents on the tornado aftermath in Xenia, Ohio.
A musing on the omnipresence of anti-reality and an essential counterpart to "Gummo" are only two levels of this anthology. The ridiculous sentences, the disheartening confessions, the $125 Nike Air Jordans--it all proves that even as a 16-year-old boy drinking flowery pink wine in his grandmother's basement, Harmony Korine had a true (mis)understanding of existence that only he and professional skateboarder/chair wrestler Mark Gonzales will ever know. Thanks to "The Collected Fanzines," I will never be able to think of Richard Gere without also thinking of the fact(?) that he said, "Fuck Tibet!"...more
There is a somehow hypnotic and projective quality about all of Harmony Korine's works. What is presented never ceases to be both stunningly beautifulThere is a somehow hypnotic and projective quality about all of Harmony Korine's works. What is presented never ceases to be both stunningly beautiful and unbearably ugly simultaneously. "Gummo" is currently my overall favorite film for a nearly infinite number of reasons. One of these reasons is that every scene has the potential to be picked apart and/or pieced together literally and symbolically. Another reason is that the film succeeds radiantly at inventing and presenting a world that is both 100% realistic and entirely dreamlike. I had originally purchased this book mainly to read the original screenplay for "Gummo." I have found that the other two screenplays, "Jokes" and "julien donkey-boy" are nearly just as riveting. The transcript of "julien donkey-boy" that concludes the collection does not serve much justice to the film. (It is widely believed that the transcript was not even written by Korine.) Otherwise, this is a marvelous treasure for any fan or enemy of Korine's films. I do recommend watching the actual movies beforehand (sans "Jokes," which was never completed), but this is a must-read collection that helps to explore Harmony Korine's works further for all of his fans....more
"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman
To me, there is"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman
To me, there is something majestically and inarguably captivating about this first novel from the so-called "enfant terrible" of dramatic independent film. Its synopsis states clearly that no plot, linear narrative, character development, or scene setting exists. Everything is somehow connected though, as each and every page investigates and/or muses upon the fractured leftovers of everywhere and everyone on this planet. Korine perfectly presents "a novel setting about the bastard wisher" with a pure, refined combination of pulchritude and putridity. Throughout his entire career, Harmony Korine has managed to turn the beautiful and the ugly into each other simultaneously, thus, allowing those who willingly acknowledge his work to possibly find some sort of new meaning within life. I personally believe that pages 6 and 175 serve as bookends that connect and complete all that lies between them. T.S. Eliot's words accidentally anthropologically endorse Korine both as a novelist and as a person. The paragraph of text that ends the book serves a very similar purpose. Most people have deemed "A Crackup at the Race Riots" as a literary companion piece to "Gummo," but moreover, this novel is actually a companion piece to everything that Harmony Korine has created (or destroyed).
My only possible complaint would be that the book may end up being read with lightning-speed by any diehard fan of the author. Otherwise, "A Crackup at the Race Riots" is an essential collection for those who either appreciate or despise how Korine has developed an ultimate portrait of omnipresence....more
Just as one of Stephen King's best short story collections encourages the reader to work the "Night Shift," this riveting anthology from Jeremy RobertJust as one of Stephen King's best short story collections encourages the reader to work the "Night Shift," this riveting anthology from Jeremy Robert Johnson encourages the reader to enter the "Angel Dust Apocalypse." Reading this book does indeed have the feel of entering a newfound, blissful end of the world (or, more accurately, of the world as we know it). Johnson's writing clearly pulls influence from not only great horror authors such as King but also great satire authors such as Vonnegut, literary authors such as Wallace, and even occasionally, experimental authors such as Pynchon. With these influences in mind, however, Johnson also manages to clearly present a unique style of his own. Each of these 20 or so short stories, be it classified as bizarro in the context of a man's determination to shock the most residents of an already shocking world, or as tragedy in the context of an irrational phobia gradually consuming a life, or as slice-of-life in the context of a burdening brotherhood driven by spite and circumstance rather than love, is narrated with a conversational yet captivating voice that perfectly accompanies the hilarious, heartbreaking, or horrific plot.
The only short story collection I've read that seemed absolutely flawless to me has been James Joyce's "Dubliners," and literary fanatics ought to know the obvious reasons. "Angel Dust Apocalypse" comes very close though, for these stories range from surreal to unreal to ugly to beautiful, and everywhere in between, and regardless they are always gripping and powerful. They serve as proof that Jeremy Robert Johnson possesses an unparalleled talent for storytelling and deserves to have a great writing career ahead of him....more