Exhibit 1.8.15

The Verificationist




I remember reading Antrim’s The Hundred Brothers on a plane some years ago and almost immediately deciding two things 1) Antrim is a genius and 2) I ¬†shouldn’t read more Antrim lest I hurt myself reenacting his stunts. Well, the first has been recently confirmed by the MacArthur people and the second I knew was a promise I couldn’t keep.

There was just something so captivatingly effortless about that hilarious, impossible novel. I think a lot of authors probably have ideas for these sorts of novels but only Antrim can actually pull it off. And thank god. He did it again in The Verificationist, setting himself an even higher bar–not only one night in one room again but with substantially fewer characters. O, also the narrator spends most of the night at the pancake house held in a bear hug.

“Don’t let go of us,” I pleaded to the man holding me. By then I think I realized he had no intention of releasing me, that there was, for Richard as well as for me, something significant–something movingly, vividly pornographic–taking place.

“I love you, Tom,” he whispered…

Yeah, it’s pretty great.

I guess if you had to sum the book up in a rhyming cliche–and you don’t–you’d say it’s about paralysis through analysis, the struggle to comprehend something as volatile as one’s self let alone a wife, a colleague, a past and how more effort leads to fewer results. But it’s silly to reduce the bear hug to such a clear metaphor for our narrator being stuck. That move isn’t about him, it’s about Antrim and what art can do and what it can’t do, which is to say what a mind can do and what a mind can’t do. In the bear hug is life at its deepest and shallowest–striving futilely, comically for something you can imagine but can’t create.

Sooner or later you’ll be set back down in the world and then where will you be?

Comment / Posted in 2013, Donalds, Fiction

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