I never made good on my intention to review Robert Lopez’ excellent Part of the World, but it gets due attention in the new Rain Taxi.  Excerpt:

Another, stranger level to this text is what’s left within the strange erasure of the narrator’s mind. As is mentioned in the first line, he often loses track of what he’s said. Certain phrases or ideas are repeated at several different moments throughout the text, each refurnished with new surrounding detail, causing a slow reveal of the fractaled memory of a man left mostly to himself. The narrator’s relationship with a neighbor slowly blooms and withers in its ways(occasionally he says he just calls her at scheduled times to be polite; later they masturbate watching each other from bedroom windows; later they share a bed but can’t seem to touch. Things continue to expand further until the narrator’s insular sexuality becomes so odd and frustrating it’s almost painful. In certain moments the strand deteriorates even to the point we have to wonder how benign this man is. Two distinct sections of the novel find him slipping into a third person, symbolic form of speech, both of which seem to refer to the possibility of violence:

Faust on ground B looking for help. Not B looking for help. B back on couch drinking beer and watching baseball and fumbling with inhalers. Faust on ground grounded. Two despicables in conversation concerning toilets and left-fielders. Beer and shoes helping Faust to ground. Faust on ground maybe bleeding. Maybe gasping for breath. Faust on ground B looking at Faust on ground. Standing over Faust. Then beer and baseball and bedtime.

And then the first line of the next paragraph: "Faust spent the night, I think." It remains impossible to know what really happened—if the narrator is struck with flights of fantasy, of vision, or if he’s actually more volatile than he lets on and/or remembers. As in David Lynch’s work, the bigger questions are left open, only slightly shredded, making them that much more disconcerting.


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