Architectures of Possibility in ABR

The May/June 2012 issue of American Book Review features a great review of our latest title, Lance Olsen's Architectures of Possibility: After Innovative Writing. Here is an excerpt:

"With some assistance from Saussure and the poststructuralist movement, Lance Olsen in Architectures of Possibility  de-naturalizes mimetic fiction and offers innovative fiction as the way to represent life/existence in the twenty-first century, with innovation stemming from a writer allowing her presence to become a 'desirous embrace' of her contemporary reality."

"Each chapter is comprised of a theorizing statement by Olsen discussing innovations in genre, literary history, the literary marketplace, the workshop, the imagination, beginnings, narrativity, settings, characters, temporality, point of view, endings, materiality, revisions, publishing, and literary activism. These opening statements are followed by interviews with current, innovative editors, publishers, and writers who have mostly eschewed Manhattan, who publish on small and micropresses, and who also theorize about the chapter's literary subject ... Olsen's text is a collage, consisting of interviews, essays, theory, literary criticism, reference sources, etc. And like many of the innovative texts discussed, it too has a collaborator, Trevor Dodge. Through theoretical statements and interviews, Olsen charts literary/artistic possibilities for approaching creativity that speaks to the reality of the twenty-first century."

"Whereas traditional characters assume a deep psychology, a full roundness, and a complex consciousness, Olsen argues that an innovative character can become a 'metaphor for socio-economic construction,' as he demonstrates with Acker's Blood and Guts in High School (1978). Olsen also shows how innovation in the fiction of Barthelme, Jackson, and Marcus re-envisions setting not as a 'sense of place' but as a metaphor for a 'larger philosophical or theoretical truth.' Finally, whereas a conventional ending refers to narrative resolution/closure, an innovative ending can complicate whatever came before it. In all of these examples, the innovation space is more open and fluid."

"Architectures of Possibility opens up fiction to a possibility that 'gives us more life, extends and validates the range of what it means to be a human' in the twenty-first century ... [A] wonderful book on innovation and fiction[.]"