Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Wednesday night at 8 on Bibliocracy: GARY AMDAHL. I am an admirer of both the writing of Gary Amdahl and the topics he chooses, of the politics and the dreamful associations, and of that alchemy which seems to occur when he begins a story and, as with few other writers, I am absolutely with him at each and ever step of the story, as if always at the beginning throughout, sometimes so much so tha...t when his beginnings meet up in character kismet and symmetry and poetry and an obviously and creatively calculated or inspired dénouement or pause or plot development I am made giddy and breathless. Two things you should know about his work: Amdahl cannot finish a thought, and for that we readers are so much better – as thinkers and co-conspiring imaginists. And, yet, he simultaneously just does not know when to stop, which is our good luck too, because his peeling of the onion, layering of the story, reassembling of onion and brain and heart and even history is about as much serious, sincere fun you can have, as they say, with your pants on. Amdahl’s newest is the first novel published by the playwright, poet and short story writer boostered by Sven Birkerts and then Milkweed and now a small house which has established, of all things, the Gary Amdahl Library. Across My Big Brass Bed is a novel posing as an intellectual and emotional memoir, an elegant and seamless and endlessly self-reinvigorating big story meets autobiography meets political wish fulfillment meets love and sex and empathy-story, with motorcycle racing, music, sex and love, anarchism, the Viet Nam War but always those amazing, long, textured, funny, startling Gary Amdahl sentences, here more than 400 pages of them. A sane Holden Caulfield, perhaps, a Proustian rememberer and a fabulist, too, Amdahl’s adolescent to recollecting grown, lonely man narrator writes the whole book in a single day, unbelievably or, no, not unbelievable, totally believable for an Amdahl narrator. It’s a real joy to host Gary Amdahl, and to hear him read from and talk about the new book. Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, or later as a free download anywhere, any times you like.