A Naked Singularity
by Sergio de la Pava
Tag on the back says, “Sergio de la Pava is a writer who does not live in Brooklyn,” and I mean really do need anything else to give this book a chance? Self-published in 2008 and slowly building steam until winning the PEN/Robert W. Bingham for debut fiction in 2013, A Naked Singularity is a Gaddis-esque harangue of the criminal justice system. I started it and loved it, but could never finish because I always had to stop and flip through books with pictures so I’d have something write about on here. I’m not complaining. It’s just how it is. My interest spiked again when The Millions (one of best book sites going by the way) published De la Pava’s year end reading list. He used the free space to plug a single book: Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. So De la Pava is hitting all right notes with me, but will I ever have time to find out if it is the next Recognitions? I’m not sure but I probably can get book club to read The New Jim Crow.
Chronicling the rise and fall of planned economies in the Soviet Union, Red Plenty is historical fiction that reads like science fiction because Soviet scientists’ claims were quite, ummm, lofty. Or so I’ve heard as I haven’t actually read this yet. There has to be fiction to be mined from the society that built this stuff. For further evidence you should check out CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed. With most of characters being historical persons, what I am hoping for is Europe Central part two. Vollmann‘s accomplishment there was so thunderous that maybe if I wait long enough to read Red Plenty I will have forgotten how heart cleaving Europe Central was and be satisfied with the next best thing. Anything from Graywolf Press is worth my time regardless.
Lin’s Richard Yates was like a Brett Easton Ellis novel but written by someone that actually knows how to write. Add a dash of Gertrude Stein and I was left with a feeling that someone might be doing something a little new and different. Considering Lin can be so nonchalant about his success and controversial subject matter, I was fascinated by possibility of an autobiographical novel. I was so excited when my hold came in! Then I never read it. This time around I really have no excuse because this one is short. And look at that fancy cover. I don’t know if you tell but those are sparkles. How can you resist that? Richard Yates has an amazing cover too. I’m not sure how you judge your books, but this whole list has great covers. Just sayin’.
If you have read any of these please leave a comment, or tell us what you wanted to read this year and didn’t get a chance to.