A David Bowie of Literature?

Is there a David Bowie of literature?—such an asinine question, as dumb as asking, “Is there a Virginia Woolf of music?”—arguing against it arguably as asinine as answering it at all, even on its own terms, which is to say, which “David Bowie”? which “literature”?; not to mention the problem of even locating a “there” with any kind of certainty, and of establishing what and/or where or whatever “Is” in this case is.

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Forward-Thinking Dzanc Books Once Again Outthinks the So-Called Majors

Robert Coover is one of the most important writers (among the many living, seemingly living, or otherwise writers), his work not only crossing genres but remaking them in his own peculiar, acerbic, lyrical, defamiliarizing image. The so-called major publishers have shied away from publishing Coover’s work for some years now, even sadly allowing his many books to go out of print, marking, once again, not only their poor judgment, but, ultimately, their cowardice.

So, I was very happy to hear the news that, come September 2013, Dzanc Books will publish Robert Coover’s novel The Brunist Day of Wrath, the sequel to his award-winning debut novel, The Origin of the Brunists. A Coover short story collection will be published in September 2014. Beginning in August 2012 and running on up through August 2013, “eBooks” of ten of Coover’s backlist titles will be released.

Bravo, Dzanc Books!

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Partial Thoughts for a Partial Wolf

I received my copy of Matt Bell’s Wolf Parts yesterday. Read it last night. It made me want to say things about it.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve read a healthy dose of Bell’s work, but hadn’t read this piece. With a title like “Wolf Parts” so many things come to mind. If you’re like me you may have had TV On The Radio’s “Wolf Like Me” pop into your head. If you’re like me you may have thought of M. Night Shymalan’s The Village… for some reason.

I expected Wolf Parts to be good. But not as good as it actually is. It’s really good, and I don’t say that lightly.

I didn’t expect a dissection, a recreation of Little Red Riding Hood, which is what “Wolf Parts” is. In this aspect it reminded me of Robert Coover’s re-imagining of the fairytale in his novella, Stepmother. Only Bell’s story has a vibrancy, a violence, an empowerment that never got cemented in Coover’s novella. Sure, Coover’s had some moments. But “Wolf Parts” has it in spades from beginning to end.

I can’t fully articulate it, but something in the way the story is formatted reminded me of Molly Gaudry’s We Take Me Apart. I think it has to do with how the sections start. They are sort of introductions into each individual moment. It’s a technique I think is hard to pull off. But Gaudry did it well, just as Bell does here.

“Wolf Parts” is part of Bell’s forthcoming story collection, How They Were Found, due this October from Keyhole Press.