Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013 in Shit: Nevada

I wish I had more to say about Nevada, but I don't, really; JR's writeup convinced me to read it, and I am immensely glad that I did. It is a gorgeous novel, full of beautiful and important and difficult things. It is also the sort of novel that forces even someone with inclinations like myself to read it very personally, in a way that I can't even begin to express how much I appreciated but am not even remotely equipped to articulate.

The one small thing I feel like I can add to the discussion is to focus, very briefly, on just how incredible the novel's ability to move through and in space is; it starts in New York City and ends in Reno, and even though the trip between isn't narrated it is felt. It's a simple, if jarring, perspective shift, from Maria to James, that takes us from the East Coast to the titular state, but the way that shift codes the movement through space in time is complex in all the same ways that the extranovelistic act is. Or at least was in my experience, I guess.

It isn't just the absence there, of course, but the way the novel builds a New York City prior to that, the sketches of Maria's bookstore job and apartment and favorite diner and friends' houses conveying at once a deeply personal and nearly geographically social look at that most fictionalized of American cities, with settings that are never quite set, but neither in flux. It's a depth of form achieved through means other than (or, rather, often, in addition to) "mastery," which is another thing I care deeply about as well but have only my bizarre ranting pseudoacademic language to even begin to articulate, and I really don't feel even remotely inclined toward that here, so.

And yes, ghosts, though I know not how.

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