Sauteing your Sense of Self
We are at a loss with how to describe this book in any cumulative, definitive way.
We don’t want to summarize or euphemize or categorize a book that was not built for “I”s (see what we did there?).
So we will just say that the heart of this book, to us, lies in the question posed by Linforth: “What is it to be I versus we?”
All right, I’ll switch POV now and leave the first person plural to this experimental novel.
The entire book, I was walking along with a refrain of voices, most of them twins, asking myself what does it mean to speak plurally? What does it mean to write this way? What does it mean to read this way?
Linforth describes the emergence of this conceptual novel as “a pseudo-chorus…one person with the voice of two or three, interchanging their identity at every turn…a directory of identities.” (See the full interview here: https://www.fearnolit.com/series/release-the-book-christopher-linforth)
The way I would describe the experience of reading this novel is like being disembodied, having my mind dichotomized and dissected, then re-bodied into a twin’s skin, trying to comprehend the world from a perspective with no singular self. At first it was discombobulating, but as I learned to reorient myself within the wonders of this book, I felt a strange sense of elation, freedom and identification.
The elation and freedom came from the genre-bending, experimental form of the novel itself. It is like a heady cocktail: one part flash (most pieces are under 500 words), one part innovative form, one part novel of interconnected short, short stories, with a garnish of genre-bending. Shake it all up, add dry ice for effect and you’re left with something unlike any writing you’ve probably ever experienced before. It’s refreshing at times, shocking, disorienting and puzzling at others, but throughout the entire book you follow a thread of tender humanity that begs you to identify with a perspective that squeezes, prods and stabs at the heart in a multiplicity of ways.
If you, too, like your heart wrung out like a dishrag, your mind chopped and sautéed, and your assumptions challenged, this is a book well worth reading. Even if you don’t particularly think you’re the type for corporeal wringing, you’d be surprised at the breadth and intensity this poignant book of 72 pages offers the curious reader.
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Levi Andrew Noe is a writer, wanderer, yogi, entrepreneur, educator and amateur oneironaut. His flash fiction collection Rain Check was published in August 2016 from Truth Serum Press. His flash fiction, short stories, creative non-fiction and works of poetry can be found in Connotation Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Bartleby Snopes and Literary Orphans, among many others. See his portfolio to read his writing, as well as view samples of professional copywriting and other works. Levi has many passions, though writing will always be his one true love. He has traveled through North America, Asia and Europe. He practices and teaches yoga, and is the founder of Tall Tales Yoga, a story-based children’s yoga program. He is also the EIC and founder of the podcast Rocky Mountain Revival, Audio Art Journal.