"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
Sam Pink is one of the best writers living today, in my opinion. The mixture of absolute hilarity and absolute beauty in his work has never ceased toSam Pink is one of the best writers living today, in my opinion. The mixture of absolute hilarity and absolute beauty in his work has never ceased to astound me. Pink himself has described HURT OTHERS as a collection of "anti-stories," which seems accurate in the context of some of the stories in the book. "Bees" and "Crackheads," for example, read more as informal anecdotes than full-fledged short stories, whereas "Love" and "Juliana," for instance, are much more narrative and seem to contain more thematic significance. Every piece is memorable, however, regardless of whether its style or content resembles something that you would read on Twitter or something that you would read in a literary journal. "Fun" may be one of the greatest stories I have ever read, if only for its incredible ending. Sam Pink is a master of observation and of presenting those observations with his own brand of absurdity, humor, and sadness. I cannot recommend this book (or any of his other books) enough....more
Thanks to the helpful maps and knowledgeable staff at the Marriott-Wardman Park Hotel in D.C., my first AWP experience ended up consisting of significThanks to the helpful maps and knowledgeable staff at the Marriott-Wardman Park Hotel in D.C., my first AWP experience ended up consisting of significantly fewer panels than I'd intended, but that's perfectly okay considering how many other wonderful things happened over the course of those three days in February. One panel that I did manage to make it to was the one on this nifty little anthology, "Hint Fiction: An anthology of stories in 25 words or fewer." It featured editor Robert Swartwood and contributors Michael Martone, Daniel A. Olivas, Randall Brown, and Roxane Gay, all of whom are geniuses and all of whom provided great insight on the topics of brevity, story, constriction, space--the list could go on for a while. During the Q&A session, I managed to articulate myself for once and ask the panelists something decent. You can read about it in Gay's review of Davis Schneiderman's "Blank: A Novel" on HTMLGIANT.
Anyway, to keep the rest of this "review" brief, I love this anthology for a multitude of reasons--how it pushes, how it creates tension, how it pivots some conceptions about writing and gives a second wind to others. In short, it is a miniature collection that walks taller in a few thousand words total than certain novels I've read can with a downright gargantuan word count....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
There is a lot to be said about these twelve stories, but in short, Look! Look! Feathers is an impressive first collection and Mike Young is a giftedThere is a lot to be said about these twelve stories, but in short, Look! Look! Feathers is an impressive first collection and Mike Young is a gifted new storyteller. Young's narrative voice is like that of an entire community of unique personalities, each presenting its own history with a special hospitality and confidence that draws you in instantaneously and stays with you long after the tale has been told. Some stories are more interesting and vivacious than others, but they all possess an essence of great character that gives them their strength. Favorites of mine included "Burk's Nub," "Susan White and the Summer of the Game Show," "What The Fuck Is An Electrolyte?", and "Restart? Restore?"...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
I enjoyed each and every piece of bizarro (non)fiction contributed to this anthology, and I now intend to explore the other works of these authors, buI enjoyed each and every piece of bizarro (non)fiction contributed to this anthology, and I now intend to explore the other works of these authors, but I will never read nor purchase anything from Bradley Sands ever as long as I live. After all, Bradley Sands is a dick....more
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