Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Book of the Year

It's time for year-end lists, and the good people at Partisan have not neglected to provide one.  Along with William Logan, A.E. Stallings, Daisy Fried, Jonathan Farmer, and others, I was asked to contribute.

I chose Karl Larsson's Form/Force, out from John Yau's Black Square Editions in a translation by Jennifer Hayashida, who is one of the great translators of experimental writing in Swedish.  I liked the book so much I wrote something more extensive than this about it, which should be out in Boston Review come January.  Until then, here's the text for Partisan:
I’m not really convinced there’s such a thing as a “best book” of 2015 or any other year—some are good for one thing, some for another. But my favorite book of the year is Karl Larsson’sForm/Force , translated from the Swedish by Jennifer Hayashida, who, along with Johannes Göransson, has the distinction of being the main conduit bringing Swedish experimental writing to the Anglophone world. Larsson’s book is presented as poetry, but it’s hard to know what to call it, really. It’s a collage, a writing-through, a meditation in found text about embodiment, borders, and the power of ideology over the body. It takes us from a man sewn into a car seat in an attempt to cross the U.S./Mexican border, through the prison writings of the Baader-Meinhof terror faction, to the destroyed Afghan Buddhas of Bamiyan via bootlegs of New Order records, finding in each instance a way to think about how power works its way over the spaces we share. Best book of 2015? Well, pick it up and I’ll guarantee it will be the best book of Swedish trans-generic experimental writing you’ve read in some time.