Sometimes it’s just you I want to read a story book. You know, where people meet, go places, fall in love, fight, be unloved, even to die– well, old story. Jordan Castro’s new novel is cheekily titled Novelist, definitely not a good, old story. He even calls Novelist the novel is generally funny. “I opened my laptop,” he says, and those first four words are the beginning, middle, and end of the story. An eye-catching headline was the right choice: Boy Opening Laptop there is no ring quite like it.
Novelist follows an unnamed writer on social media while her boyfriend sleeps in their apartment one morning; he occasionally works on novels-in-progress in Google Docs. This is so. The first 16 pages describe the protagonist looking at Twitter in minute-by-minute detail, thinking things like “my Twitter was terrible – Twitter in general was terrible.” A more annoying premise for a book is honestly hard to imagine. And still here I am, recommending it. What’s so good about a novel with a plot line that borders on the downright hostile? For starters, it’s funny, a rare and valuable quality in modern literature.
It also contains some of the most accurate and downright disgusting depictions of the internet experience in fiction. There is a tangent inside Novelist where the narrator remembers a popular girl from her high school named Ashley. She stares at him, looking at digital photos of him on Facebook. “Quickly, almost frantically, as if on an urgent errand, I went back to Ashley’s profile and clicked on her cover photo: a group of wealthy-looking petite women and stout men, all white, in dresses and high heels or blazers and partially opened buttons, jammed together on the roof, an unfamiliar skyline behind them. However, I recognized some of the people in the picture. At least I thought the names that appeared when I moved the cursor over their faces and bodies became unrecognizable to me,” the narrator muses before imagining what these people may or may not be like. . “I imagined I was having an argument about racism with one of the fat men in the picture,” he continues, scanning Ashley’s social milieu like an avid con artist. I’m sure this passage will resonate with anyone who’s allowed themselves to spend an hour or two playing detective on random acquaintances on Facebook, and establishes Castro as a psychologically accurate chronicler of online life.
In a curled middle finger for anyone who can make a mistake Novelist for autofixation, Castro invents a queer version of himself for the narrator’s obsession, a literary semi-celebrity who has become the ear of the left-wing internet, despite saying nothing morally objectionable. This fictional Jordan Castro writes a novel, which then gets caught up in the gears of an online rage era, giving the author an opportunity to say how disgusting the progressive media is: “The narrator of one of Jordan Castro’s novels is an aspiring bodybuilder, published at a time when the culture is ‘coming to terms with toxic masculinity.’ for the novel was harshly received by many, calling it variously “fascist”, “proto-fascist”, “fatphobic” or curiously, ‘Not what we need right now.’ Within weeks, reviews with titles like “We’re Reading Jordan Castro’s Body Novel, So You Don’t Have To” and “Jordan Castro’s Fitness Privilege” were written, suggesting that the book’s literary merits are not much more than the impact they might have in reality due to the supposed hidden meaning in some sentences. ” As with the description of social media wormholes, these acidic tangents about the state of online discourse are remarkably accurate.
At this time “internet novel” is now its own sub-genre, it’s still rare to see these mundane experiences of being online portrayed in a flattering, demeaning and realistically realistic way. The best of the recent “internet novels”, Patricia’s Lockwood’s Nobody Talks About Itcaptures the sensibilities of the ultra-online mind, but its fragmented style and playful, absurd language create an impressionistic portrait — there’s no discussion, for example, of entering a password incorrectly or the impulse to delete Facebook after losing it in the afternoon. Novelist, on the contrary, has a quotidian, blogging quality. Castro, poet and former editor New York Tyrant Magazinehas subliminal loyalties (thanks to Tao Lin for the credits), and bits of his protagonist actually talking about a tired morning on social media wouldn’t be out of place. Catalog of thoughts for example in 2011. (Although now often associated with discarded personal essays, Catalog of thoughts (in his early years, he was a frequent publisher of such subliminal voices as Tao Lin, Megan Boyle, and Castro himself.)
People often dismiss self-centered writing as “navel-gazing,” but not so much the maddened, defiant solipsism of Castro’s protagonist. If anything, “anus-gazing” would be a more appropriate descriptor, since the narrator poops, thinks about poop, or e-mails a friend about poop for quite a large part of the novel. (Novelist must hold some kind of record for the longest description of how to wipe toilet paper in fiction.) All the scatological chatter is interspersed with all the imagery of the screen—sometimes the main character also poops. and Looking at Instagram – proposing a relationship: In the end, it’s all the same.