In my continuing tour of Ben Lerner, I read 10:04 (and yeppers, I next need to read some of this poetry to prove my geekdom).
- I was ready for this one, as I finished Leaving Atocha Station first, getting over my holy-shit-this-guy-is-an-asshole-this-is-him-not-a-narrator attitude. I’m still not convinced that Lerner is playing some elaborate joke on his readers (and I’m not smart enough to get it, but that’s an old fear, one best communicated in sentences with trailing dependent clauses, word salads that seem (and do) lead nowhere but which also feature parentheses, even in nests).
- When I think he’s being too precious (and I’m not sure why I’m so worried about that) I use as evidence his hypochondria, the weird situations he puts his narrator in, and the use of pop culture references.
- When I think he’s clearly established an interesting distance between himself and his narrator, I look at his self-deprecation, his obvious interest in things I value (the coop, building a community, literary relations).
- As is obvious, I feel myself fighting back and forth between these poles, unsure even if this is a dialectic.
- I love his vocabulary, and find myself looking up words when I read his work. He even uses some multiple times, which gives me a chance to catch up.
- Is his relentless focus on the minutiae what makes me intrigued by his shit? Is it the self-deprecation?