Thursday, November 15, 2007

SAMEDI THE DEAFNESS & David Lynch

I read straight through SAMEDI THE DEAFNESS by Jesse Ball yesterday. I went to look at it at Borders after Shane Jones mentioned he'd read and liked it. The writing is cut into short lines that break every page or every few pages and the top blurb on the back of the book said it was like David Lynch so I bought it without further question.



Jesse Ball is a poet. I like prose written by poets. You can usually tell the difference because they often use less words and more clear words. The story is filled with a lot of surrealist imagery and bits of unusual quasi-science like what I enjoy in Ben Marcus's NOTABLE AMERICAN WOMEN. The back of the book also referred to Kafka, and this book seemed more like Kafka than a lot of other books that are referred to as seeming like Kafka.

There are a lot of little bits in the book that don't go anywhere. I like those bits the best. I liked less when things were made to come together.

I am still looking for a book that appropriates the experience that David Lynch creates in his films. This book had certain elements but did not fully capture what I like about Lynch. I don't think the author intended that anyway, but I'd like to read more noir-ish, creepy unresolved suspenseful absurdist writing. I can't think of any book that is very close to David Lynch in style.

I have never read a book that made me feel like I do looking at this:



or this



or this



or like the first 40 minutes of LOST HIGHWAY which makes me feel more fucked than anything else ever.

I wrote a novel last year called MORE LIGHT trying to write a David Lynch style novel and was told the characters were unsympathetic and that you could not feel for the characters. I did not want anyone to feel for the characters. I will probably never try to do anything with that novel. That is 58,000 words that I worked for 5 months on that will never see another's eyes, likely. I am fine with that.

I liked SAMEDI THE DEAFNESS. I would recommend it to others. I wish more books were like it in that it made me want to read to the point that I had no choice but to keep reading until I was done. Those are the kind of books you live for.

10 comments:

Shane Jones said...

I just finished interviewing Jesse Ball for a future issue of Hobart. I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up asking him about his facial hair in his bio photo.

virginia woolf said...

i like the feeling those images give me.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

shane: interviewing is hard. i look forward to seeing it.

my friend ross showed me this interview with jesse, in which he says he wrote the book in 3 weeks: http://www.powells.com/essays/ball.html

throwingroses said...

Such great Lynch images, you can always see a still from his films and get a whole other feeling from it then when it's a moving scene. I've heard the lynch comparison used for a few writers over the years, I haven't read anything that matches up to that name yet though. At times Tom Robbins could get that honor, but I always feels he falls short by chocking me with long descriptions of already established visuals.

Sabra Embury said...

Hi Blake,

I've enjoyed David Lynch for a while too. Since Twin Peaks, and then his movies. I've seen most of them, even the shorts he made in film school, which are totally fucked in a way. I had weird dreams for a while, and Lynch's stuff helped me feel like it's something that just happens in brains of people who are different. His movies played out like my dreams, in nonsensicle bursts and chunks which don't make much sense when you explain, but sort of make sense in reflection.

Some friends of mine and I have a new blog on here called Troika Moonshine 300 which this minimalistic exercise you might be interested in. We do stream of consciousness type fun business playing with randoms. If you want to play, you're invited. If you want to read something new, you're invited. Either way, it's nothing serious or anything. It's calesthenics.

BLAKE BUTLER said...

throwing roses: i agree, the still images take on a different feel even than the moving shots they come from. strange that way.

sabra: his shorts are great (well, most of them). the Grandmother still fucks me up.

i will check out the blog.

brandon said...

house of leaves by mark z danielweski

semi david lynch

i would at least find it at the bookstore and page through it, its.....very experimental

Dobbs said...

frances johnson, by stacey levine, is full on lynch

Mark said...

Good write up with eht lynch connection. I thought you might be interested in this interview I did with Jesse Ball recently:
http://everydayyeah.com/?q=content/interview-mr-ball

BLAKE BUTLER said...

very nice interview i like