December 18, 2002

readers who read gaddis, markson, joyce and pynchon: the best book you may not have heard of is evan dara's
the lost scrapbook. the first chapter can be found via the washington post, interestingly the only major publication in which the book was reviewed upon its publication. the lost scrapbook was picked by william vollman as the winner of the fiction collectives award for best book of 1995.

here is a excerpt from the first chapter:

"--Tell me what book has made the strongest impress--the tale of the suicidal career counselor, o Dr. Sphincter; it's a bizarre enterprise, this deciding what "to be": mostly it feels like negotiating what not to be; so spare me your solicitude, my dear diminishers, for I can already hear what you are going to say next: that before long I'll need to be realistic, and to acknowledge the inevitable, and that eventually I'll recognize the subtle majesty of moderation; after all, you'll tell me, children can only make purposeful movements after they've learned to rein in their fitful, neonatal fluttering; learning to reach is actually a process of learning not to do everything except reaching; but let the watusi continue!, I say; think how we might move if all that innate waggling could be harnessed:

--But you know that isn't workable; now, if you'd just look at this pattern of crosshatched smudges-- and see the configuration of my future; no way, good sirrah; if I tell you, creviced Dr. Goatee, that I enjoy a good game of musical chairs, would you consign me to a lifetime on a loading dock?; if I mention that I had stubbed my toe on a rock in Hoppe Park on the way to your paneled offices, would that make me a born jack-hammerer?; save your TAT's and your Stanford-Binet's and your vocational aptitude tests for people who are born takers of TAT's and Stanford-Binet's and voc. ap. tests; do not ask me to choose classical philology over industrial catering when they both seem such powerful fun; I want to be a forensic epidemiologist and a floorwalker in men's hosiery--look at how those size 10-to-13's drape over their tiny 2-shaped hangers:

--All that is admirable, of course; but, you know--

--But there is so little time. . .;"


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