Wednesday April 15th, 2009

Disappearances by William Wiser

disappearances254Recommended by Derek in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
I’m currently about fifty pages into William Wiser’s Disappearances, so far a comfortingly conventional bildungsroman nestled amidst an inquiry into the “Bluebeard” murders of post-WWI France. Wiser writes with great control, and though he drops pieces of his thorough and precise research into the text with too much flourish, I find the habit endearing and the detail impressive. The procedural bits recall the fourth book of 2666, but rather unlike that morbid litany, here you get a little relief while Wiser relates the sexual exploits of his fledgling protagonist. Gertrude Stein, whom Wiser supposedly channels with aplomb, hasn’t poked her head out yet, though John Maynard Keynes has surreptitiously fondled the narrator’s knee. I found the novel at random in one of the world’s most wonderful bookstores, Dickson Street Bookshop in Fayetteville. I believe that I was looking to discover a stray Eudora Welty but ended up with this instead, sold on the recommendation of Oakley Hall, who doesn’t say anything of substance but does provide his seal of approval, which is good enough for anybody.