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Anatomy Courses Paperback – January 24, 2012
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This book was a trip. I don't usually talk about plots in books as I'd rather not spoil anything and other reviews typically cover that for me. In the case of Anatomy Courses, I honestly couldn't give away anything, because I honestly have no idea what happened.
The book has words. Redundant? Maybe. But that's all I can really say for sure about this book. The order in which thOse words are arranged are so bizarre, that they create a completely different literary logic. The images they produce are all at once surreal, grotesque, and at times horrific.
There's a lot of talk about sex. I think. Maybe you can tell me:
"With one spurt we'd found the fountain in a crawdad-buried Mall of Streets..." (p. 11)
"When the moustache-broke-in-gravy came out reeking origin I longed for whatever wasn't in the room with me on the rare occasions waking up became insulin." (p. 44)
"I fitted the skull coming out of you back into my mouth, for it was soft now, and became glad." (p. 75)
Hell, I couldn't even keep track of if the protagonist was male or female (if there was a consistent protagonist; there are I's and yous and mothers and fathers...)
Don't take this as a negative review. As the five stars indicate, I absolutely could not get enough of this book. I was lost and loved every second of it. It has been my introduction to both authors, and if either of their solo works are half as compelling as this book was, I'll be devouring their other books too.
Get lost with me. Buy this book.
From the back cover: "THIS IS THE COLDEST LAMP IN AMERICA"
This is an important book. It represents bravery on behalf of the authors and (especially) the publisher, Lazy Fascist. It requires the reader to disregard the learned patterns mentioned above.
Blake Butler and Sean Kilpatrick are young authors from America. Butler has garnered attention for uncompromising books such as 'Scorch Atlas' and, more recently, 'Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia'. Kilpatrick is an author I am unfamiliar with beyond a story in 'Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens'. While Butler's past books may tend toward the difficult at times, Anatomy Courses raises the bar. We're in a different world here. Subtitled `A Skin Dictionary', 'Anatomy Courses' is an electric shock through the body of written language.
While 'Anatomy Courses' may be a team effort, the results are singular, suggesting a symbiotic connection between Butler and Kilpatrick. One almost senses this piece started as a writing exercise and evolved into so much more.Read more ›
I am inclined to agree.
I could not begin to describe the characters, the plot, the setting, the themes. After reading this book three times the whole thing still mystifies me.
Those same elements I can not describe to you ARE there. They are all present and accounted for. Butler and Kilpatrick have put together a clear narrative that is obscured by the very language that constructs it. It is a thing of enigmatic beauty.
I can tell you that the vocabulary used is primarily organic, and not in some obscure metaphorical sense. The authors seem to have used words from a med student's desk reference to construct this entire work. It is really quite incredible.
The closest thing I can compare it to is Steve Aylett's "Accomplice" series of novels, but "Anatomy Courses" is far more obtuse and unwilling to part with its secrets so easily. This is experimental literature that will make you work, and work hard, for understanding.
I will be the first to admit: I don't get it. Yet I still keep coming back to it like the Cenobites' puzzle box. "Anatomy Courses" is like a religious calling. A madness, or a sickness even. So elegant in its architecture, so deceptive in its presentation. I want to understand. I want to know its secrets.