I submit to you, my dear reader, a visualization (click to enlarge) of the structure of Roberto Bolaño’s novel, The Savage Detectives. This is an autobiographical novel, framed by a coming-of-age story of sex, poetry and violence. But it is a biography whose subjects–a pair of dadaist poets–are always disappearing.
To you, dear reader, I submit a painting–my first since high school art class–inspired by the poem, “The Unicorn” by Billeh Nickerson. But, as is always the case, the translation, through both error and intention, has resulted in something quite distinct from the original.
I submit to you, dear reader, a pair of pie charts showing the varieties of “facial expression” that appear in Tao Lin’s novella, Shoplifting from American Apparel. This ridiculously simple phrase, repeated over 25 times, never once dropping the redundant word, “facial”, is one of many signals that in this novella, the style is the story.
I submit to you, dear reader, a bookmark for Christopher Isherwood’s novel A Single Man, featuring the revolver Tom Ford placed in the protagonist’s hands in Ford’s film adaptation. A revolver that never appeared in the original book.
I submit to you, dear reader, a collection of 10 book covers for the fictional novels, fragments, manuscripts, and fraudulent translations that appear in Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveller–a book which is also a library.
I submit to you, dear reader, a list of five sentences from The Five People You Meet In Heaven, (presented on an image taken from the author’s website) which I hope will demonstrate a simple stylistic principle: vague superlatives fail to impress.
I submit to you, dear reader, a painting by Lucien Durey, whose explanatory note, submitted long ago to an art school English class, is now lost. But looking at the painting now in my home, I imagine it may have claimed that in “A Streetcar Named Desire”, Blanche DuBois, fluttery and dressed in white gowns, is likened to a moth—not only in that she is a moth to Stanley’s flame, but also in her fragility. A moth is so delicate that even a single fingerprint on its wing can be devastating. The moth of the painting, on a sticky red substance whose grain seems to echo the loops and whorls of a fingerprint, navigates no less precariously than the moth that approaches the flame. No less precariously than Blanche circles her own desire, shame, and self-destruction.
Your task, dear reader, is to illustrate one of the qualities of a particular character from any text. Provide a short explanatory note if necessary.
For an alternative assignment, as always submit anything else on this book in particular.