Thought I’d try and take a few minutes to actually write something here today. I’m a short way into Robert Lopez’s Part of the World. For a while, I was bouncing around between a bunch of short story collections – sort of kicking of EWN’s Short Story month a little bit early – going between Stephen Dixon, the new Michael Martone collected fiction, Laird Hunt, Primo Levi, a piece from the new Interfictions collection – all very cool stuff, but given my state of mind lately and the feeling that I’m juggling on a highwire in an earthquake, I needed to settle on one longer story. Also known to book lovers as "a novel." Har, har. Anyway.
I’m liking the Lopez. A lot. He’s writing me right into the main character’s mixed up head. As I’m at work, not really a good time to bust out my copy and type some good excerpts for you here. Thankfully, the internets save us with an excerpt. I will, however, paste ‘n’ cut some blurbs. When I got this in the mail, I turned it over to see what it was about; no summary, but have a look at some of the names here:
“Reading Part of the World by Robert Lopez felt to me like standing in front of one of those marvelous, mind-bending exhibits at the Museum of Jurassic Technology that seem at first glance to be doing exactly nothing and at second glance to be dissolving and reconstituting reality as we thought we knew it. Literary pleasures like this are all too uncommon.”
“The prose found in Robert Lopez’s new novel, Part of the World, is as flat as this piece of paper but as deep as the deepest well. The world this world is a part of is an affectless poetics planet caught in the black-hole gravity of a Stephen Dixon-esque free-falling narrative sink. Stranger than The Stranger, it is a relentless, droll, blinkless, book.”
Which brings us back, full circle, to the beginning of this post: Dixon, Martone, Hunt. Good dudes. I have to wonder if that last comma in the Martone blurb was intentional. Either way, when three wise men pop up on the back cover of one book, that means it’s time to get reading.