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…the world is just as concrete, ornery, vile and sublimely wonderful as before, only now I better understand my relation to it and it to me.

From Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

My undergrad professor, Amy Sage Webb, mentioned this book in class one day and seemed genuinely appalled to discover that no one had read the book, and very few of us had ever heard of it. Her words exactly: “This is one of the great dystopian novels. You guys are turds.” Okay, the last part she didn’t say, but if you were there you would have seen that she really wanted to Invisible Man cover say it.

But the part about Invisible Man being one of the great dystopian novels; not only did she say that, but she was absolutely correct. At times it reads like a picaresque journey from the south to the north shortly after the abolishment of slavery. At times it reads like semi-satire on early American hiring ethics.… Read the rest

Strange then how something so uncanny and outside of the self, even ghostly as some have suggested, can at the same time also contain a resilient comfort: the assurance that even if it is imaginary and at best the product of a wall, there is still something else out there, something to stake out in the face of nothingness.

From Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves

House of Leaves affected me in the same ways it affected everyone else. The story captivated me, and the structure blew my mind (give the book a quick thumb-through next time you are at the bookstore), and the characters were abnormally well-developed for what horror fiction has traditionally produced. But House of Leaves affected me on a separate, more personal level as well. I love Jorge Luis Borges. He is the king of metafictional narratives (RE: fiction that consistently reminds the reader that he/she is reading fiction).… Read the rest