Wednesday, June 2, 2010

You Should Read Brock Clarke

Brock Clarke has a new book coming out in October. Here’s an excerpt from 2007’s An Arsonist’s Guide to Writer’s Homes in New England which proves you should care:

     I took my leave of the women (mostly) and the café and began wandering through the bookstore proper, making my way to the memoir section. It didn’t take too long. The memoir section, it turned out, was the biggest section by far in the whole bookstore and was, in its own way, like the Soviet Union of literature, having mostly gobbled up the smaller, obsolete states of fiction and poetry. On the way there, I passed through the fiction section. I felt sorry for it immediately: it was so small, so neglected and poorly shelved, and I nearly bought a novel out of pity, but the only thing that caught my eye was something titled The Ordinary White Boy. I plucked it off the shelf. After all, I’d been an ordinary white boy once, before the killing and burning, and maybe I could be one again someday, and maybe this book could help me do it, even if it was a novel and not useful, generically speaking. On the back it said that the author was a newspaper reporter from upstate New York. I opened the novel, which began, “I was working as a newspaper reporter in upstate New York,” and then I closed the book and put it back on the fiction shelf, which maybe wasn’t all that different from the memoir shelf after all, and I decided 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.
If you don’t find that passage a delicious appetizer which leaves you dying for the rest... what's your problem?

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