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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of new things.

Writing a novel, then, isn’t the expression we should use to sum up the intention preceding a spokesperson’s or post-exotic author’s work. Because it’s more, for him, composing a book that brings together several writing processes—quasi-novelistic, para-novelistic, poetic, sometimes theatrical, specifically post-exotic—with the goal of publicly producing a work that can be read like a novel, which is to say continuously, with a unifying thread, images, characters, and voices that structure and approach a story. Without theorizing here, the goal of every post-exotic author is certainly to give the public a way into, and certainly a stay within the novelistic domains barely or not yet explored by official literature. One concern of these authors is to diminish as much as possible the discomfort their readers might encounter as they enter unknown lands. The spokespeople, our spokespeople, who bring together the often disparate components of our writing community’s multiple voices, try to emphasize in this way the novelistic dynamic. With these fragments, these images in narracts, these Shaggås, these haikus, these rantings, these dream-tales, they create works that resemble novels, they make novels. For them, the idea of the novel is associated with the impressions they have made of those who will receive their stories: prisoners, at first, attentive and infrequent listeners, within these walls; then, second, a large public of bookstore readers, outside these walls. Sympathizing or not, these readers demand something particular of the book they’ve gotten hold of: specifically, I think they’re preparing for a dive. They hope to immerse themselves, beyond their world, within another world, and for that immersion to be enjoyable—or even just possible—and they need friends and travel companions to guide them in their crossings, characters. They’re waiting for a dialogue, both conscious and not, between their memories and those which propel the book, between their memories and our own. They hope that a distinct narrative thread will ensure the narrative’s continuity. Whether this continuity obeys a linear or oscillating or circular sequence doesn’t matter: in just about every post-exotic work, this continuity begins on the first page and goes straight to the last. Above all, post-exotic authors never go into creating things that can’t be experienced. Gratuitous literary experiences have always bored them as readers. Which is why they care that their books’ contents amount to the ingredients of novelistic cohesion, and why they pay attention to images, stories, dramatic arcs, and this forward march to the end. Ultimately, all post-exotic authors are attached to the form commonly known as the novel. Since time immemorial they have harbored affections for this form and, even if they knowingly introduce variants, if they modify its architecture, they genuinely believe that they are enriching it rather than pushing it around, disfiguring it, or betraying it.

Antoine Volodine


Table of Contents