Saturday, November 15, 2014

10:04 (Ben Lerner)

What to say about this book?  I read it in a series of sustained late-night bursts.  And there's something about the flowing, almost stream-of-consciousness prose that fit.  Like Blonde on Blonde after midnight.  Thin, wild, mercurial.

Most of all it was wonderfully, tightly, observed.  Not much happens (though plenty of things occur) - but it's the narrator's perception - and how close he gets to the unspoken (but thought) - that matters.  Simple scenes - the opening, with him walking along the High Line with his editor.  Visiting Marclay's "The Clock."  Working the Park Slope Food Co-Op (his line about the surly cashiers brought me straight back to Brooklyn) - and falling into a deep conversation with a co-worker.   A residency in Marfa, that surreal Brooklyn-cum-West Texas. 

And he threads that thin line between fiction and poetry and life.   Like Bolano, who started as a poet, there's a remarkable precision of language. I liked living in his world.  Seeing with his eyes.  And so, now onto Leaving Atchoa Station..  and then, perhaps, back to Stegner and Crossing to Safety

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