thechapbookreview

Lonely Christopher Satan, Reviewed by J. A. Tyler

Satan

Lonely Christopher
Small Anchor Press

Reviewed by J. A. Tyler

Satan is an interesting book in that it attempts to do (a least) two things at once: to tell chaotic stream-of-consciousness stories while also consciously experimenting with language, playing with rhythm and meter and rhyme and pacing.

Some pieces, like “Telling”, read more straight-forwardly, exposing holes and gaps in language where more and other words can be inserted, but attempting a stronger through-line:

Okay always hard nights better days. This is not a reaction. I’m going to wake up and be something I’m sorry. Liked creation. Not okay dictionary. Not aware of that fact but thanks for telling me, Susan. This is the time for the end times.

Other pieces in Satan, like “I Found You There (VII)”, read as pure experiment, any intentional narrative seemingly pecked out of the sentences, leaving room where only repetitive and chugging words exist:

I found you there. I found you there. I found you there finally. I found you there in church. I found you there finally. I found you there. I found you there in my arms. I found you there with numbers. I found you there.

For me, the problem with Satan is that it is a book in which it is hard to draw a line; sometimes Satan is a vibrantly aggressive piece of literature where the stories, though not inter-connected by narrative or plot points are driven by the same attempted language, but sometimes instead of reading cleanly or with much obviously clever gathering, Satan reads like a riddle that is never uncovered, a puzzle that is not completed and shows no signs of resolution, an unfinished object.

Satan is good, but it is not excellent. Satan plumbs the depths of language, but does not always satisfy. Satan is worth the  time, but will take time to gnaw through.

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  1. […] APART, HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF ANEW is HERE. And his review of Lonely Christopher’s Satan is HERE. Also, check out the reviews of Tyler’s own novella Inconceivable Wilson […]

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