I reviewed Lars Iyer’s Spurious for the Quarterly Conversation. Blogger reviews blogger. I wrote this review during a break from a longer, far more exhausting project, so I took the opportunity to kick back and enjoy myself.
Friendship demands one expose oneself, or better, that one allow oneself to be exposed in the ecstasis that does not permit us to remain mired in tautology.
Lars Iyer, Blanchot’s Communism
Spurious cannot be reviewed like the books of so many dead authors, or even so many living ones. Lars Iyer is a blogger whose site is named Spurious, and now he has published a book named Spurious with a narrator named Lars. The book relates closely to the blog in content, in style, and in spirit. (It shares little in common with his two academic books on the French writer and philosopher Maurice Blanchot, however.) Some of the content from the book has appeared on the blog as daily entries, before and even after the book was published.
I am a blogger as well. We share some of the same tastes: Thomas Bernhard, Bela Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky, Smog. Lars and I were both anonymous bloggers for a time. We did not want a public persona influencing our reader’s impressions of our work. Now we are not anonymous. I decided it was futile. Just ask Tao Lin. By signing up with Melville House, Tao Lin’s publisher, I gather Lars agrees.
Those who take Spurious the blog, and thus Spurious the book, as a pathetic intellectual burlesque are missing the great complexity offered by each. It is a subtle complexity, obscured by misdirection. But the richness in the book is available to those who let themselves be misdirected and then misdirect themselves. It takes some effort on the part of the reader to unsituate him or herself, however. Because this book does read like a sequence of blog posts on Spurious, and because it plays on the border between fiction and non-fiction like so many blogs, it demands a different sort of reading than one would give a novel that comes with nothing but a name attached. The chorus of Larses in the book, the blog, and Iyer’s interviews speak with greatly overlapping voices. But listen to this chorus of Davids and all will be made clear.
PS: Apropos of nothing, I’m quite impressed with Google’s tribute to Will Eisner. Eisner’s letters-as-buildings and flexible panel space were always some of his most striking techniques. Nice to see them here.
Trainspotters Update: Lars Iyer “Like”d my article on Facebook. Steve Mitchelmore has defriended me, however.