THE NOVELIST by Jordan Castro
I feel seen. I feel attacked. And yet, when all is said and done, I feel a bit indifferent. In The Novelist, Jordan Castro treads the well-worn path of an author writing a novel about avoiding writing a novel, while considering another novel that he might write instead. Thankfully, Castro’s is a reasonably refreshing take on the subject, with a strong and deliberate air of Thomas Bernhard (he frequently references The Woodcutters) and a very contemporary sensibility.
To a certain extent, this is a book of delights for anyone engaged in artistic enterprise; Castro finds every reason not to work on his book, whether it be obsessively checking Twitter (and then considering at length the relative merits of the various platforms and the philosophical worth of social media as a whole), taking a shit (rendered in painstaking detail), or raging about a more successful writer friend. And while it’s all quite enjoyable, it lacks the cynically laconic misanthropy (and interminably long run-on sentences) that lies at the heart of what made Bernhard so great. While being too smart by half, it seems that Castro is having too much fun. You might, too. Maybe the joke is on me.
The Novelist by Jordan Castro
Soft Skull Press, 2022