Monday, October 01, 2007

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

My short review of Brock Clarke's second novel is in the October issue of The Believer:
Eighty pages into this, his second novel, Brock Clarke takes a seeming swipe at his first. His narrator, Sam Pulsifer, is wandering through a bookstore when he begins to feel bad for fiction and poetry, those “obsolete states” that have been “mostly gobbled up” by the store’s memoir section, “the Soviet Union of literature.” Sam picks up The Ordinary White Boy—Clarke’s first novel—since he too had “been an ordinary white boy once, before the killing and burning.” But he finds that the novel is not very different from the memoirs, and he decides “never again to feel sorry for the fiction section, the way you stopped feeling sorry for Lithuania once it rolled over so easily and started speaking Russian so soon after being annexed.”