Review of The Dreamed Part (Trilogía las partes #2) by Rodrigo Fresán

ISBN 1948830051 (ISBN13: 9781948830058)

Fresan’s second part is a dream incarnate.

It contains a plenitude of poetry, mixed similes, mingled metaphors, quirks, smarm, charms, verve, meandering melancholia, free-form, dare-I-say dreamlike anomalies, pop-quoting, trans-textual, atemporal, hallucino-generic, and anti-modern coagulations of language. It quivers; it writhes. What with all the billowing prose exudations, the quavering, stuttering processes of thought, the cathedrals of suggestion, the post-Proustian tight-rope-straddling, the encyclo-mytho-poetic verbivoratious, anecdotal maxims, it swells to the proportions of a particle accelerator of words, of sentences, piled up and paragrabbing, paraglyphing, parachewing, in maximalistical experimenial, penumbral, peripatetic precipitation, a preposterous product of monstrous reprisals, of liter-airy illusions swilling gargantic biblio-gargling mind-wash, all while riffling, rapping, grappling, doubledreaming, sentences experiment on each other, and experience existential crises, until they are forced to cruise over fallen foes and compose footbridges from those floating prose-corpses. His pages are composed of an organic mulch emulsified through ferocious observations bordering on divination. This thing corrupts the DNA of the novel form. It is a formulaic un-novel, birthed from the ur-mind, umbilicaled to the collective (fractal) consciousness, unraveling a consistent accumulation of abstraction, which acquires gravitational pull toward some frightening, undefined singularity. While metamesmeric, tessellated interrelations merge in sybillance (sic.), recalling the elusive phantom of imaginative epiphany, the subversion of pre-packaged cliches, acquiring biological momentum, its very own patented A. I.. It might be self-referential, self-propagating, conjuring thought-polyps, as it posits infinite scenarios of its precognitive dissonance, while dreams are playacted by munchkin homunculi behind our eyelids, and kaleidoscopic menageries, in cinematastic splendor, recount a recursive quest for truth, within an embryonic echo chamber, reenacting the dreamed fiction of human history, with post-hypnotic stress disorder. It relishes its incompleteness, with circumlocuitous convolutions, a slave to the word-smith within us all, a willing tribute to the tribal tribune of writers writing about writers reading about readers. Fresan writes his way out of a box with 15 open sides, and is trapped in an amnesiac loop wherein he pines for the nostalgic afternoons spent in a bookstore which never closes, which contains infinite floors and each floor infinite shelves, each shelf infinite volumes (et chetera ad infinitum), spinning tapestries of delicate cadence, leitmotifs galore, compressed digressions, regressed impressions, conversensational, lexdysic trajectories of dreamscience, oozing dreamessence, in endless variations – the literary equivalent of Groundhog Day on repeat, until it becomes Nidhog Day, in dreams nurtured in coma fugue, in slomo pulp-promo locomotive emotional, talismanic, contexual reflexion, both morphological and serpentine – to put it simply, he never gets to the point, even while his beatific, oneiric reality is extruded from a dream within a dream (ad nauseum), and it becomes less a novel and more a continuous essay on dreamlogic, with so many references and quotes, it’s hard to distinguish what’s appropriated from what’s original – blurring the line – repetitive save-scrubbing and polishing, wear and tear, both of the reader’s attention and the writer’s technique.

It examines how media transposes its layers into real life, how books/ film/ music transform reality for us, so that we can better consume it. Our relationship to other humans is interpreted through these mediums & our celebration of culture is a result of our technological accomplishments, our idolizations and our obsessions. It is at once intimate, irreverent, wily and bloated. The primary discussion moves from the aforementioned into 19th and 20th century literature, the Brontës and Nabokov in particular. Circular digressions ensue. The “radiation of influence” is everywhere apparent.

A discussion, a forum, a panel, for pop culture enthusiasts. More than 1 Twin Peaks reference and innumerable 2001 and Twilight Zone plugs, an accumulation of character biases, the microstories within paragraphs – with all these, Fresan purposely spoils endings – he did it in the last one and he does it here. Alberto Manguel tried to do this in his books on reading, that is to say, to communicate the painful joy of reading certain books. The way they have a powerful effect on sensitive aesthetes and often massage souls into bibliophilic rapture.

If the endless concoction of slipshod biographies of his favorite writers don’t bother you, he still blathers to the point of minute obsession. Fresan is an idol-worshipper of the highest order. The literary giants exert such influence upon him that the intimidation of their lingual prowess prevents him from joining their ranks. He is a fan-boy with consummate ability, down-played into imitative madness. What he manages to communicate is the desperation of the lonely, misunderstood artist, the deception of perception. This is a well-padded goddess-medusa, full of pomp and circumdance. Spoofing, complaining, giddy, fierce ineluctable modalities of the frigid and dead interiors of modern humankind.

Review of The Invented Part (Trilogía las partes #1) by Rodrigo Fresán

ISBN 1940953561 (ISBN13: 9781940953564)

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…