Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kris Saknussemm's PRIVATE MIDNIGHT Reviewed by James Sallis in Fantasy & Science Fiction

Novelist James Sallis reviews Private Midnight, by Kris Saknussemm, in the December issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction: "Saknussemm’s second novel, following upon the 500-page picaresque, post-apocalyptic satire Zanesville characterized by its author as “techno-theological post-American monster vaudeville. . . . Some readers will, I’m certain, find components out of kilter, horror elements overshadowing the embedded crime novel, Ritter’s interiority arrant; and some will object, on moral or aesthetic grounds, to such full-blown, graphic eroticism. But for me the balance of elements is wonderfully maintained. The detective work runs like a river through the whole, counterposing the weightiness of the fantastic; the biographical elements never go on too long, and fall in seamlessly; the teeter-totter of what is imagined or projected, what real, never falters. Private Midnight is, finally, a brilliant and brilliantly disorienting novel. Those sounds you hear beneath the floorboard? As with The Manual of Detection, they’re the sounds of a writer respecting and rooting deeply into the conventions— finding out what’s in there.I n interview, Kris Saknussemm has said: “I would always support the wild, deviant, and visionary work over the quiet, accomplished, and methodical.” And further along,

that “the greatest hope for American fiction that I see lies in the direction of ‘speculative’ fiction…mutant, hybrid forms.”What Greil Marcus termed that“old, weird America” is still with us, scouts. And it is perhaps never more with us than in fresh new work like Saknussemm’s."

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