``Thus his musings, when written down, gradually melded, gathered shape, solidified like a well-mixed mache, and thus, upon rereading them he realized what he had accomplished was the construction of an actual voice. The final dances of youth, dim incandescence.'' Newcomer Keene has written a dense, lyrically beautiful and highly experimental debut. Composed of short passages open to multiple interpretations, it defies easy description. Annotations could be described as a bildungsroman, as a collection of short recits by unnamed and undetermined narrators, an elegy to the rise and fall of Keene's native St. Louis, a meditation on the African American influence there and much, much more. It may sound daunting, but Keene's masterful prose smoothly transgresses traditional lines of representation and description without ever seeming like an exercise in multi-thematic chaos. Keene's ambitious attempts to convey subtle beauty and complex emotions through obscure allusions occasionally beg for more extensive explanation than that provided by the notes at the end of the text. Still, Annotations is a work that should not be ignored and is worthy of the highest recommendation. It is an experimental work that pinpoints a new direction for literary fiction in the 21st century. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995 Release date: 10/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.