Yuriy reading at Chicago’s Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (1974).
Part 1 | Part 2
[Please note that I’ve updated both of these posts with photos that Yuriy sent me.]
I’d like to ask a few more questions about Three Blondes and Death, if you don’t mind. Perhaps the most memorable and complicated aspect of that novel is its syntax. I’ll quote a short passage to illustrate:
It’d been unusually warm all that spring. The vegetation was much more advanced than usual. It really looked almost as in the middle of June. The grass was thick. It was bright green. It covered the earth like a bright layer of paint. The paint seemed shiny. It seemed still wet. It seemed to have been poured out of a can and to have spread over the earth. It seemed to have spread by itself. The earth therefore seemed tilted. (13)
How did you arrive at such a style?
Oh, yes, that syntax! You can’t imagine how much grief and pain it cost me.
I first encountered Yuriy Tarnawsky‘s writing in 1998, when I stumbled across a copy of Three Blondes and Death (FC2, 1993) in a Philadelphia bookstore. (A college professor, having noticed my interest in less-than-realist fiction, encouraged me to be on the lookout for any books published by FC2 or Dalkey Archive Press.)
Three Blondes was unlike any other book I’d ever seen: it consisted of hundreds of short chapters, each one a solid block of prose, describing in meticulous detail the simultaneously outlandish and banal lives of the protagonist, Hwbrgdtse, and three blonde women—Alphabette, Bethlehem, and Chemnitz—that he grows, in turn, infatuated with. The chapters are not always presented in chronological order, and more than half of them relate the characters’ dreams. It very quickly became one of my favorite contemporary novels. (When I moved to Thailand in 2003, it was one of the few books that I brought with me.)
Later, in the summer of 2004, I met Yuriy in New York, at Ron Sukenick’s memorial service; we began talking, and soon became friends. I’m pleased now to be able to post here, in multiple parts, a lengthy interview I’ve conducted with him. I’ll also be posting and linking to excerpts from Yuriy’s writing; my hope is that this will encourage more people to seek out his unique and deliriously fascinating work. Continue reading
Cover design by Malcolm Felder.
My first book, the prose collection, Amazing Adult Fantasy, is now available. Interested parties can order it here.
Of it, others have said:
“Adam Jameson’s amazing adult fiction is alive with the life of language. Like Céline or Gertrude Stein, Jameson’s fiction works if the language works and the language works so the work works. He restores my faith in the possibility of joy in fiction.”
— Curtis White, author of The Middle Mind and Memories of My Father Watching TV
“There is a character in one of these stories called Indian Jones who ‘had his plate too full looking for priceless artifacts to have any time for toys or children.’ Not A D Jameson. He has written a book of modernday fables in which the plot and language amaze the reader on every page with wit and imagination. Jameson has managed to accomplish something not every artist has: he has grown to adulthood while retaining the spontaneity and inventiveness of a child.”
— Yuriy Tarnawsky, author of Three Blondes and Death and Like Blood in Water
Meanwhile, a few selections have appeared online:
Thank you for your time and attention!