"In Bed" with Blake Butler

Posted by Goodreads on April 4, 2011
Indie favorite Blake Butler's style has been dubbed postmodern, Lynchian, even grotesque. Although he defies singular categorization, it is clear that this nontraditional artist enjoys experimenting with form. The impressionistic novella EVER ("rich ambiguous superfunk hell-ride") and the novel-in-stories Scorch Atlas ("dreamlike, elegant, and post-apocalyptic") are two of his better-known works. Butler is also the cofounder and editor of HTML Giant, an online home for experimental writers.
Written in ten days on little or no sleep, There Is No Year portrays a domestic dreamscape in which a family moves into a new home where there is also a "copy family" with a father, mother, and son. In honor of his latest novel, Butler shares five "hypothetically" surrealist books.

Mount Analogue by René Daumal
"This book is so founded in the real unreal that the author died midsentence while working on it. It's essentially a map for unlocking the mouth to the gate of the impossible, which exists, by Daumal's definition, in folds of space right in front of us. It's also funny and full of messed up science, the total Nowhere package."

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola
"A mini-epic about a child navigating the corridors between the phantom world and the living world, full of dream and myth and hybrid bodies and magicks. A really fun read that also does a lot of messing with syntax and perspective and blood language."

Flet by Joyelle McSweeney
"I think Joyelle invented 11 other human senses in order to create the weird network of fields and states this book makes. It's a mash of sci-fi, detective novel, paranoia, Joycean freak show, language party, and damagePoem. I like to pick this book up and just stare at the machines it has in it, get jacked up."

Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate by Johannes Goransson
"Easily in my top ten books of the past ten years. This is a pageant made of fainting, body doubles, torture porn, ruined skins, destructive fashion, amnesiac starlets, human burnings, dance paroxysms: pretty much the ultimate mirror of the breaking face of America in one big anthem that wants to erase itself as it's being written. This isn't surreal; it's so real it's real."

Tripticks by Ann Quin
"Often considered a precursor to Kathy Acker, this is another book that reteaches you how to imbibe the hyper color and extra sound packed in the language, using sentences not as diagrams but as tools like a computer. Composed of hybrid memory, trailing, and weird image maps, this thing continues to suck energy in around it toward a mass that concludes with one of my favorite how-did-that-happen endings in recent memory."

Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Surrealist Literature

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Thomas (new)

Thomas A Night of Serious Drinking by René Daumal
As long as we're mentioning Daumal...

message 2: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Wade you should check out gogol's short stories. although i suspect you have as the title of your latest is a direct quote from diary of a madman. a more than able imitator/disciple of gogol was bulgakov.

message 3: by John (new)

John Allen Daumal wasn't a surrealist, of course. He was a member of Le Grand Jeu.

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