A first novel at once reminiscent of W.G. Sebald, Rachel Cusk, Ben Lerner and Lisa Halliday, and yet entirely unlike anything you’ve read before.
THE RED ARROW
by William Brewer
Knopf, Spring 2022
(chez The Gernert Company – voir catalogue)
THE RED ARROW follows an unnamed narrator, a failed novelist deeply in debt to his publisher, on a high-speed train from Rome to Modena, where he is desperate to find the famous Italian physicist whose memoir he’s been ghostwriting, and an whose disappearance in the middle of the project has threatened the narrator and his newly formed family with financial ruin. Moving swiftly and seamlessly through his past—including a chemical spill in West Virginia, a failed New York art career, psychedelic therapy in California, and a luxury beach resort in Sicily—THE RED ARROW contains multitudes: it is at once one of the most authentic descriptions of the experience of depression I’ve ever read, and a joyously earnest celebration of freedom from the toxic power of the ego; a spiraling meditation on time, memory, and the nature of the self; and a novel with the ineffable mystery of a poem, one whose originality lies in admitting that it’s not original at all. For we are each just a cloud of quotations with no fixed center—or, as the Physicist might put it, we are nothing more than interactions, like subatomic particles—and when we’re finally able to let go of the fiction of our discrete selves, all that is left is love.
William Brewer is the author of I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017), a winner of the National Poetry Series, and Oxyana, selected for the Poetry Society of America’s 30 and Under Chapbook Fellowship. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Nation, New England Review, The New Yorker, A Public Space, The Sewanee Review, and other journals. Born and raised in West Virginia, he received his MFA in poetry from Columbia, and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he is currently a Jones Lecturer. Born in 1989, he lives with his wife in Oakland.