|The good Twilight|
- He didn’t have a goddamn MFA; he was self-taught. [Um...language!]
- He didn’t publish until he was in his mid-fifties. He was rejected for over thirty years by my count. Thirty odd years of rejection but he continued to write because this son of a bitch was a writer. [Your profanity makes unicorns cry.]
- He lived in a honest to god log cabin. [My aunt lives in a portable storage building and no one's calling her a genius.]
- He was William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, and Flannery O’Connor all rolled into one. He was the real deal.
- He was a painter, a musician, and an unassuming literary genius. And if you walked up to him to say hello, he’d say hello right back to you. [Which is more than I would do.]
I'm not sure how to address this topic. Do I pick something that I loved but critics panned? Do I pick a book that I enjoyed but most people haven't yet discovered? Do I pick the most offensive book I've ever found at a bookstore and then pretend that I moved it? (Admittedly tempting, that last one....) I'm going to pick the relatively undiscovered book that, in the right hands, could prove to be a real delight.
One of the young novelists writing interesting and enjoyable fiction is Jesse Ball, and I thought his first novel (and paperback original) Samedi the Deafness was bad ass. It's a spy thriller written by a poet who likes to riff on Kafkaesque plotting. Hang on to your hats. Here we go.
People keep committing suicide on the White House lawn, and they ominously warn that the shit is going to hit the fan in seven days. The protagonist, James Sims, happens upon a man dying in the street, and when James leans over the dying man, he utters a word: "Samedi." As James tries to work out the puzzles and unravel the plot threatening the world, he's confined to an asylum for chronic liars (and you know I love books set in mental institutions). The pressure is on. Truth? Lie? Something in between? It's not just another weirdo plot twister, though. Jesse Ball is a poet and creative writing instructor and this novel displays his fondness for words.