As much as I would like to rate this book 4 stars, I cannot. It was too clever, too deep, too fluid, too geometric, too weird. I devoured portions of it, and felt myself drowning during other portions. It took me quite a while to finish. I had to rent it from the library 4 times, and finally bought it.
Fresan’s writing is unlike anything else I’ve read. At times he reads as polished as Bolano, and other times he examines minute concepts from multiple dimensions at once, and in a way entirely his own. I was reminded of Javier Marias, but Marias would never indulge in this kind of well-rounded discussion of modern culture. Marias is a great writer, but the subject matter he chooses is limited compared to the wide territory Fresan covers. The flow of the narrative caused my mind to manufacture its own momentum, to galavant over terrain it rarely traversed. I rarely lose sleep over books, but I had to keep flipping the light back on, picking this one back up, and reading just a few more pages. Like Marquez, there is hardly anywhere to stop a reading session. You are always, perpetually in the middle of an endless paragraph, usually lost in a sentence you think you should restart. Therefore, it encourages you continually, goads you forward, and maddens you all the while.
The ideas come at you like stars after someone has engaged hyperdrive.
Remarkably, it is only part one. The Dreaming Part will be hitting retailers soon.
It is an incredibly long, intricate, dense construction of pop culture references, random characters engaged in unlikely meditative, encyclopedic monologues, and there is an extreme over-reliance on similes. So, it is not hard to believe that the author went on with this mode, or that he is sitting in his room right now, adding to the stream of thoughts and impressions, and that he will continue to do so for all eternity, into the afterlife, inexhaustible. The purpose of the thing is the style. The pleasure of it comes from the impressive accumulation. Fresan does what László Krasznahorkai does, but does it more superbly, without boring you on every page. It is an exhausting read, but you will chuckle and grin through most of it.
What might have started as a gimmicky stream of writerly rap sessions morphed into scene and setting, travelled through minds peopled by celebrated personalities, literary memorabilia, trivia, movieland, and rose to unexpected heights, attaining the breadth of great literature, all the while perplexing with its vicissitudes, defying your ludicrous attempts at judging his blustery sentences. This is a book to experience, and one to revisit. And the book goes on living, even after you have finished it…