Saturday, February 25, 2012

"fractured into hundreds of pieces"

"[...] Not that [Steve] Erickson has ever written for the faint of heart. Extolled by Pynchon, likened to Nabokov, DeLillo and Ballard, he has been deemed a surrealist, a visionary, a genius. His fictions play out among the shifting landscapes of sci-fi, fantasy, postmodernism and avant-pop. Occasionally, These Dreams of You reads less like a book than a prose contraption engineered to pry us loose from our bearings.
     It opens, however, with something like narrative realism. I say 'something like' because the first three words, 'But years later,' hint that time will not be conforming to linear models. Still, we begin grounded in time and place: the night of Nov. 4, 2008, and the living room of a house on the edge of Los Angeles, where the Nordhoc family is watching the presidential election results on television. The four Nordhocs, who provide the messy, vibrant heart of the novel, make up a representative tableau for the new millennium: the American family as mash-up. [...]
     But perhaps plot and even sentence structure are of secondary importance in a work where 'the arc of the imagination is forever "bending back to history,"' an idea that is thought by multiple characters in this book of multiple frames. Actions echo across time, continents and realities: historical, fictive and dreamed. Zan lectures on 'the narrative as sustained hallucination.' In the end, Erickson’s seemingly fractured novel turns out to be something else — the novel as fractal, a series of endless, astounding tessellations."
— Leah Hager Cohen, The New York Times
Get all of Steve Erickson's books here...

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