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Richard Grossman

For the past two decades Grossman has been concentrating on a trilogy entitled American Letters. Its first two volumes, The Alphabet Man, describing hell, and The Book of Lazarus, describing purgatory, were published by FC2 in 1993 and 1997 respectively. The trilogy’s final installment, Breeze Avenue, a 3,000,000-page work on heaven, is scheduled for publication in late 2013.

Blurbs

"Bold and brilliant."

– William T. Vollman

"The Book of Lazarus is an amazement. . . . It blew me away."

– Dennis Cooper

"The Book of Lazarus is a novel that ought to change the direction of American publishing."

– The Nation

"An exceptional feat of choreography and a radical vision for the possibilities of fiction."

– The Village Voice

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The Book of Lazarus

The Most Perfect Thing I've Ever Read

08/30/11

This novel is a puzzle or maybe a labyrinth as much as it is a scrapbook of the dead.

I had always dreamt of a book that can be read in any order, and this is that book. I'd recommend reading it from beginning to end, but I'm certain it can be read in any order, by simply flicking to a new section and beginning, then on to another and another until all is read.

It's a novel that defies easy categorization and is likely considered a difficult read by many, with its enigmatic poetry and aphorisms and its singular perfect contribution to literature: a seventy page sentence fragment that is surreal, beautiful, and wholly consuming. It, in my mind, is the most perfect thing I've ever read.

The novel is tied together by a noirish novella that gives, in simple terms, the plot, though the plot is incidental to the greater work. Very much something where the novel is infinitely more than the sum of its somewhat disparate, albeit connected, parts.

Grossman has captured so much in this by giving so little, or, rather, by being particular with what he gives. He has taken the narrative apart, thrown bits in different directions to float where they will, and in this process of deconstructing, he has filled it, created so much that could never have been there before. Fleeting scraps of the dead bundled together to make something like life.

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