on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2017 15 Mai

Open To Space

von: Martina Weber Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags:  Comments off

Noah Solloway took his time for his first novel A Person Who Visits A Place. I remember a short story titled “The Waiting Room” in one of the new literature magazines, For Starters, a few years ago, and found it again now as part of a well thought mesh in this ambitious first novel, published in 2014, that I spotted browsing the shelves in a library. Solloway studied at Columbia and works as a teacher for English and PE at a public school in Brooklyn, but his novel displays a strong European influence because of its metaphysical claims. The title itself sounds a bit abstract, but the story isn´t. There are 52 chapters, one of each describing, well, a person visiting a place, in a variety of sense. I cannot exactly say how many characters there were involved, because some of them have no names and others who have names do change them. It´s kind of a family structure, there is this young close-mouthed student who struggles for a new life, apart from poverty and loneliness, his mother works as a waitress, which is described from his and her and the father´s and the goldfish´s perspective. There is the student´s affluent girlfriend, there is this superego father-in-law, a famous writer living on an island, there are some close friends, there is a baby girl and several unborn, but persons, time and space are malleable, and page for page you lose control. In an online Interview Solloway said as a teenage boy he loved Moby Dick and I think there´s a crime element and through that you discover dark under-shade. Where is real life? What is memory like? What does liberty mean, hazard? Although the novel´s structure is quite experimental style (in one chapter the main character, a young writer, encounters Alain Robbe-Grillet in a coffee bar in Paris and talks about possible structures of novels) there are always meditative parts and it´s not an essay. “He thought of weather. How unpredictable it still was,” writes one of the narrators. “He looked down at his feet to watch the waves recede, leaving jagged little rivulets in the sand and took comfort that he could find no order in their paths either.” It´s not a sit-back-book, it´s a lean-forward-book. I just checked, the second novel by Noah Solloway, Decent, was released this spring and it will soon be made into a major motion picture.


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