John the Posthumous

Jason Schwartz. OR (www.orbooks.com), $17 (148p) ISBN 978-1-939293-21-3
An explication of Corinthians and its variations in different Bible versions, etymologies of words derived from the names of birds, and a history of the American bed can all be found in Schwartz's second (after A German Picturesque) book. These, along with descriptions of each window in an unnamed narrator's house, census details from a nineteenth-century street and a review of embalming techniques appear in the book, which strings together disassociated images and litanies. In lieu of characters or plot, the book is driven by these images, lists and catalogues of details and citations, contributing to an overall unfulfilling effect. Schwartz's rhythmic sentences suggest loose themes of adultery, violence and death and his confident, distinctive style propels the book forward even without a traditional narrative. An experimental work that reads more like a wandering through the contents of one's mind than a novel, Schwartz's latest will appeal to readers interested in blurring the boundaries between fiction, poetry, and history. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/19/2013
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