A review of
by Nathaniel Mackey
Dig, if you will, dear reader, this useful false dichotomy:
There are two types of literary fiction books not on the best-seller list.
The first has a traditional plot, recognizable characters, and some form of everyday language. It is, in many ways, just like its best-selling brethren—with a slight tilt in the publishing axis, this book could get picked for Oprah’s Book Club, adapted into a major motion picture, or eventually showcased on that big list. But this doesn’t happen, because the book has its quirks—an off-kilter narrator, an obscure vocabulary, a plot based on an unread classic, no distribution, bad cover art, etc.
Let’s call this type of book the Bizarro Updike Book.
You know this book. You’ve read it on the bus and in fits and starts before drifting off to sleep. You’ve finished it. You’ve forgotten it.
Then there’s the other type of book. This type of book is weird. Its plot, characters, and setting are so far from the ken of a best seller that for it to succeed commercially, the reading world would have to undergo a revolution of consciousness.
Let’s call this type of book a Nathaniel Mackey Book.
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