Everything Flows

James Greer. Curbside Splendor, $15.95 (125p) ISBN 978-0-9834228-8-4
To brand James Greer’s slim new collection, Everything Flows, “experimental fiction” would be to sell it painfully short. Experimental fiction has its own rules and acceptable parameters, and Greer, a former bassist for the band Guided by Voices, exceeds even these over the course of these 19 urgent dispatches from the far side of reason, where anything can occur. A story might begin by considering a piece of renaissance sculpture, recall the flatulence of an ascetic monk, or present a day in the life of the obscure composer Tobias Hume (or is he the philosopher of the same surname?). From there, it might turn the tables on the reader (“Instead of listening to my story I think we could be more productive if you were to tell me yours”), interrogate its own substance, or transition into another story entirely. Plot hardly applies. “Everything Flows” concerns a man whose record of possession may be a matter of life and death. “Invisible Ink” digresses into a short biography of Northrop Frye (“Nothing he did made any difference”) and “Elephants” is, approximately, about elephants. And yet every word matters, even the wildest stories scarcely seeming as though they could be otherwise. Usually this sort of free-associative reverie is called “strange” or “playful,” but Greer’s lyrical erudition is both serious work and seriously fun. Halfway between the mind of God and a vivid dream, Everything Flows is proof that there remain new places to go, both on paper and in the known universe. (Sept. 10)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Open Ebook - 125 pages - 978-0-9888258-9-5
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