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We Make Mud

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Peter Markus makes myth out of mud, a river, fish. By parceling his obsessions so obsessively, he creates a never-before-seen form of mud, a new species of fish, a river that flows backwards to its source: all of this rendered in a language that is uniquely and privately his own.
Paperback, 145 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Dzanc Books (first published March 1st 2011)
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Edward Rathke
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
--But us brothers, we knew what it meant to be better than dead. We knew that when things die they sometimes just then begin to live.--

It is moments like this within Peter Markus' We Make Mud that make you read and reread sentences over and over. So simple and so understated, but, in many ways, those two sentences are at the very heart of this novel in stories.

Told in plural first person with the occasional transition to singular, a story about two brothers who call each other Brother, not
John Madera
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In We Make Mud, Peter Markus, like James Joyce’s artist, “forg[es] anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of the earth a new soaring impalpable imperishable being.” Markus achieves this through peculiarly musical repetition and a deliberately constrained and largely monosyllabic lexicon. “Loving repeating is in a way earth feeling,” Carole Maso writes in her tribute essay to Gertrude Stein, Stein herself a master of repetition, and Markus, through relentless repetition of words like “ ...more
Robert Wechsler
Jan 03, 2014 marked it as ongoing
Shelves: american-lit
I read the first half of this book solely on the treadmill, which is the perfect place to read this wonderfully repetitive book to nowhere, full of mud, a river that flows by, two brothers, and their odd, often violent fantasies that constitute the reality of the book’s world. I call it a book because it is more story collection than novel, at least to someone who is halfway. But it’s really neither. It is what it is, it is.

I’ve greatly enjoyed this literary exercise, but will move on for now to
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The stories in this book dream and shift as darkly as the muddy river the brother characters are so obsessed with. The repeating, though shifting and flowing, elements seem different for a group of stories. Some stories are different, but some are altered versions of previous stories that do something different than the previous version. Even when the stories are different, certain lines show up over and over, like the refrain in a song that won't leave my head. It's dark, it's mud, and dear god ...more
Apr 26, 2012 marked it as to-read
this guy writes the same thing over and over again, but a little different each time, so much like gertrude stein, cyclical, i’ve never encountered someone who does it quite like that, cyclical to the point of incantation - rural fixation, rumination, fish, rivers, mud, brothers, mothers, fathers, rusted nails, reading his prose is like falling asleep on a boat, rocking back and forth, lulling, but sounds too, shocks, and then calm again, though with Markus, it’s visceral and disturbing too. it’ ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel-in-stories
"Here, at the river's muddy shore, us brothers, because we are brothers, we drop down onto our hands and knees, down in the river-made mud, and down here on our hands and knees, down here where dirt and river kiss to make mud, us brothers, we bend down our heads, we close our boy eyes to the muddy darkness inside our own heads."

Sounds like a prayer position, doesn't it? If a prayer book knocked up a book of fables, this novel in stories would be their baby -- a baby made of mud. And its parents
Josh Boardman
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
I like the idea of a restricted vocabulary and an incantation-like prose. It can certainly be powerful. But on the first, the language seemed to be artificially restricted-- I'm thinking of the introductions of guitar and dirt later in the book-- and at times the rhythm seems to falter in an attempt at flourish. The rhythm/pacing also changes dramatically about 20 pages from the end, which made for a pretty unfulfilling, inorganic conclusion. The ideas are here, but the execution isn't quite.
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
great stuff... reviewed it here: A Dirty River Runs Through It
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Peter Markus is the author of a novel, Bob, or Man on Boat, as well as five other books of fiction, the most recent of which is The Fish and the Not Fish, a Michigan Notable Book of 2015. His fiction has appeared widely in anthologies and journals including Chicago Review, Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Black Warrior Review, Quarterly West, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, among many ...more
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