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Month of Gratitude: Thanks, Robert Steiner!

I’m in the middle of writing a review of Robert Steiner’s Negative Space, after having read it twice. It’s a marvelous novella mapping the mania of a cuckolded man, featuring lyrically meandering sentences, like this one:

“Smoldering ruins can occupy a panorama the way from our terrace I witness the olive grove, and the sea beyond it, and beyond the sea the horizon that cuts it, and beyond the horizon the bleeding sun, but eventually even ruin is nothing but gravity.”

I’ve read a hundred books, so far, this year, and this short book was one of the best, and so, I highly recommend it. And I’m grateful to Steiner for writing it, and to Counterpoint Press for publishing it.

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

10 thoughts on “Month of Gratitude: Thanks, Robert Steiner!

  1. ah, well good luck then. excited to read the book and afterward see what you have to say about it.

    i read the beginning and it’s just beautifully brutal.

    1. Yes, “beautifully brutal,” is a good way to put it. Lyricism in service to probing of thought. Steiner’s narrator is achingly honest, as he swerves around what betrayal means to his sense of being. Makes me want to check out all of Robert Steiner’s books. But you know how that goes…

  2. a note of thanks to you john madera, and to your readers as well for posting. it’s gratifying to hear voices talk back…

  3. I just bought this today at Borders. I was just getting sadder and sadder by the aisle (while clutching The Feminine Mistique), and when I saw “Counterpoint” on the spine I did a little happy dance and plucked it out. Worth noting, I was all the way into the “Ss” by then. And now, seeing it here on BO, totally ready to read it.

    1. Hey Molly,

      Nice to hear you picked up Steiner’s book. You might just fall into sadness again, though, one that comes not out of frustration with flaccid prose—as I can imagine you’d find within much of the books found at these McDonald’s versions of bookstores—but one bestirred from a contemporary master’s evocative lyricism, his careful limning of betrayal, and the sadness that can only come from it.

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