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New Writing from Harper Perennial
One of the most acclaimed young voices of his generation, Blake Butler now offers his first work of nonfiction: a deeply candid and wildly original look at the phenomenon of insomnia. Invoking scientific data, historical anecdote, Internet obsession, and figures as diverse as Andy Warhol, Gilles Deleuze, John Cage, Anton LaVey, Jorge Luis Borges, Brian Eno, and Stephen King, Butler traces the tension between sleeping and conscious life. And he reaches deep into his own experience-from disturbing waking dreams, to his father's struggles with dementia, to his own epic 129-hour bout of insomnia-to reveal the effect of sleeplessness on his imaginative landscape. The result is an exhilarating exploration of dream and awareness, desperation and relief, consciousness and conscience-a fascinating maze-map of the borders between sleep and the waking world by one of today's most talked-about writers.
In this striking novel-in-stories, a series of strange apocalypses have hit America. Entire neighborhoods drown in mud, glass rains from the sky, birds speak gibberish, and parents of young children disappear. Millions starve while others grow coats of mold. But a few are able to survive and find a light in the aftermath, illuminating what we've become. In "The Disappeared," a father is arrested for missing free throws, leaving his son to search alone for his lost mother. A boy swells to fill his parents' ransacked attic in "The Ruined Child." Rendered in a variety of narrative forms, from a psychedelic fable to a skewed insurance claim questionnaire, Blake Butler's full-length fiction debut paints a gorgeously grotesque version of America, bringing to mind both Kelly Link and William H. Gass, yet imbued with Butler's own vision of the apocalyptic and bizarre.
"If there's a more thoroughly brilliant and exciting new writer than Blake Butler . . . well, there just isn't."-Dennis Cooper"Blake Butler, mastermind and visionary, has sneaked up and drugged the American novel."-Ben MarcusI could go on at what these days were but the truth is I am tired. Would you even believe me if I did or didn't? Could this paper touch your face? I've spent enough years with my face arranged in books. I've read enough to crush my sternum. In each of the books are people talking, saying the same thing, their tongues thin and white and speckled.I don't want to be here. I want to get older. I want to see my skin go folding over.Someday I plan to die.Books that reappear when you destroy them, lampshades made of skin, people named with numbers and who can't recall each other, a Universal Ceiling constructed by an otherwise faceless authority, a stairwell stuffed with birds: the terrain and populace of Sky Saw is packed with stroboscopic memory mirage. In dynamic sentences and image, Blake Butler crafts a post-Lynchian nightmare where space and family have deformed, leaving the human persons left in the strange wake to struggle after the shapes of both what they loved and who they were.Blake Butler is the author of Ever, Scorch Atlas, There Is No Year, and Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia. He is the editor of the literary blog HTMLGIANT.
A family of three: father, mother, son. A house that gives them shelter but shapes their nightmares. An illness that nearly arrested the past, and looms over the future. A second family-a copy family. Mirror bodies. Events on the horizon: a hole, a box, a light, a girl. Holes in houses. Holes in speaking. Holes in flesh. Memories that deceive and figures that tempt and lure and withdraw. There Is No Year is the astonishing new novel by Blake Butler. It is a world of scare, a portrait of return, a fable of survival and the fierce burden of art.
A family of three: father, mother, son. A house that gives them shelter but shapes their nightmares.An illness that nearly arrested the past, and looms over the future.A second family--a copy family. Mirror bodies.Events on the horizon: a hole, a box, a light, a girl. Holes in houses. Holes in speaking. Holes in flesh.Memories that deceive and figures that tempt and lure and withdraw.There Is No Year is the astonishing new novel by Blake Butler. It is a world of scare, a portrait of return, a fable of survival and the fierce burden of art.
One maniacal killer. One tortured police detective. The end of the American story.o--even as Flood's secret journal chronicles his own descent into his own, eerily similar psychosis.A portrait of American violence that conjures the shadows of Ariel Castro, David Koresh, and Adam Lanza, Three Hundred Million is a brutal and mesmerizing masterwork, a portrait of contemporary America that is difficult to turn away from, or to forget.
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