Thanks to this blog, I “met” M.J. Nicholls in a course of what some people would call destiny, others a happy coincidence, and some other others (the vast majority, to be more precise) simply wouldn’t see a reason to call it anything. To cut the long story short, Mark liked one of my blog posts and wanted me to write a similar article for a publication he was editing, so we engaged in a collaboration that happily ended in me offering him to read my book of stories translated into English, and him reading it and saying that they want to publish it. When this wonderful thing happens, I’ll let you know.
Contrary to what this might look like thus far, this is not a post about me. This is about “A Postmodern Belch”, a novel that M.J. wrote in his twenties, I believe. Too young to be envied for his literary skills, yet he is. The “Belch” is a novel which fascinates the reader with incredibly fresh language, ripe literary style and confident experimenting with metafiction; a primer for all who wish to refresh their language with smart and completely new word coinages, puns, similes, and humorous reflections on the relationship between an author and his/her work of art.
GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL POSTMODERNISM
This is only a fraction of what you’ll find in “A Postmodern Belch”: pages divided into 2, 4, 8… parts to accommodate different voices created after a character has been split into 2,4,8… parts; an onslaught of letters G that threaten to subdue the voice of the character and turn all his consonants into G; an advertisement for a product called Macroshit Ghostwriter that helps users choose from tons of different pre-written story templates, freeing them from the need to use their brains ever again; a variety of narrative formats, each more imaginative than the previous, all the while following the search of three fictional characters for their true author self or for their true narrative that will dazzle the world.
In plain words: in this novel nothing and everything happens, while Lydia, Harold and Greg engage in conversions with the narrator, whoever he or she is – it’s never clear and always a battle of who’ll earn the role, and in conversations (quarrels, rather) with each other. What I love love love about this work is 1) its unending artistry (not that I understood half of it – too lazy to consult the dictionary every three words), 2) how predictive the author is of any possible criticism, anticipating, addressing and dissecting every imagined “issue” with plot, style, form, tone, character, voice, point of view, or whatever creative writing programs teach us is important, before any critic gets the chance to try the same, 3) the humorous parts where it’s hard not to laugh out loud, 4) the obvious fact that he is enjoying and loving writing with all his heart, 5) the confidence with which he dives into the most postmodern of all postmoderness without losing the reader’s respect. 🙂
Finally, I want to point out that the author of this post is NOT being compensated for this favorable review by having her collection of stories published. All occurrences of published books or books waiting to be published are purely coincidental. The author kindly advises all lovers of a good postmodern novel to go and treat themselves to “A Postmodern Belch” before it changes form and becomes something else (got your attention now, didn’t I?).