Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TO-READ I Leaving the Atocha Station

Most men identify with characters in novels as young children, when the world is still awash with opportunity, the self still nothing more, it seems, than a body and a face; a name called home in time for supper. But you can call me Huck, or Adam, as the case may be. For like a boy pretending to be Superman, I truly did believe that I could fly from the first sentence of Ben Lerner's first novel, with its catastrophic and empowering relief of a story about the stories that one tells, in order to catch trains or to spend money that one doesn't have, to mystify one's place in politics, and even to explain, unnecessarily, the going to and being in museums, restaurants, parties, lost. How does one live alone, this novel asks, in the exact same tone of voice one asks one's self: Cowardly, at best, but down in writing, nonetheless. Not bad for a poet. Or a grown man dressed in mostly underwear.

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