Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jack Saunders: Bukowski Never Did This

Review by Tom Hendricks, Musea Review Service

Tom and Jack are both members of the ULA. They may never have met. Tom is proud of his reviews being very honest.

What is it? Three short novels in one by Jack Saunders. Technical Quality: The technical quality of the writer is very good. His writing style is smooth and well honed. He has written over 250 books, about one a
month, and it shows. Technical quality of the book itself is similar to any published trade paperback. Innovative Quality: The writing gets high marks for innovation.

He mixes everything into the work: rants, Q. and A. self interviews, novel synopses, diary entries, poems, even liner notes for a CD.

"Reading one of my books is like surfing the Internet, or reading several library books - and magazines and newspapers - at the same time."... "I write in a variety of genres. Poetry, fiction, drama, memoir, self-interviews, replies to rejection slips, letters to a friend. Sometimes in a single book."

Throughout the work he switches back and forth between a novel with the main character , Brew, a struggling unpublished, prolific writer; and entries from a diary by Brew. He even says IN the novel what it's about - a sort of Catch-22 review/synopsis of the novel within the novel!

"Bukowski never wrote 250 books without selling a word to New York or Hollywood. He also didn't "create a body of work, his stack, and invent a form to present it in, daily typewriting." Nor did he publish his books, himself in real time, daily , and respond to reader comment, in the work, so that his books were not only written, and published in real time, they were interactive, and responded to reader comment after he had had time to think about the matter. The book shows how Art Brew combines writing,
work and family. And fights the nomenklatura, the Retread Mafia the old ennui, out on a quiet spree. The book is divided into alternating sections, Diary, and Novel. The novel is an underground writer procedural novel and the diary is the diary of writing an underground writer procedural novel. And working etc."

The book cover is not as accomplished. It seems disjointed and looks too busy with the sensory overload you see on most website main pages.

Review: FIRST A DISCLAIMER. This reviewer, is a member of the ULA the Underground Literary Alliance, a writers group. Both author Jack Saunders, and publisher Lit Vision Press are members of the ULA. IF you think this is a conflict of interest - stop reading this review now. If not ...

This novel is written in a very free form that oscillates between a writers diary/notes and a novel about his life. The story is straightforward enough. Art Brew has got writing in his blood. All he wants to do is write his novels or talk about them. He writes one each month, sometimes every two weeks. But he can't get published and to support himself and his working wife Brenda, he must take jobs as a technical writer, usually with all the red tape associated with government work. His jobs are always temporary
so he seems to be out of work as much as in. And though he can't get published, (though in reality he is here - another Catch-22) he continues to write prolifically.

And what does he write about? "Stories about the writing life," such as writing, his novels, synposes of them, writers he likes, the Buzzard Cult
- a group of followers of his writing, his query letters to publishers, quotes from other writers, etc. There is some events outside of writing but they're not in the majority. He struggles with low finances at home, his long suffering wife supports him, they both love a band called Dread Clampitt, he sometimes drinks too much, they visit relatives, enjoy good food, and they move more than once to find work.

Here is a sample of his writing on writing:

"Brew's book took him over He was writing what turned out to be a series of related books, about being an underground writer, an underground writer on the worldwide web, a man using the worldwide web to write the
Great American Novel, online, daily, something new under the sun. This idea excited him so much he thought the book would be commercial. He thought the book would sell to a New York editor or agent, and rescue him from his dead-end job. In the nick of time. Here's a catalogue raisonne of what he had written so far..."

And here's a sample of his writing not on writing: "Shakespeare never blotted a line./ Same with Mozart. The music just flowed,? Like he was taking dictation. The paintings van Gogh did/ at the end of his life look sloppy, until you examine them/ closely with a painter's eye. A mistake is existential. Use it./ Ask a Zen master."

Overall it's a rich book that book lovers will enjoy. What you won't find is much emotional depth, characterization, or plot. What you will find is a seasoned writer full of bits of info, sparks of ideas, and totally committed to his writing, even in his writing!

Some more quotes that I enjoyed.

"That's what my book is about. Producing a body of work and inventing a genre to present it in. For a world that's hostile or indifferent to it."

"What happens if I (1) lose my job, and (2) don't sell my book? I write a book about that. I look for another job."

Contact Info:
Pat Simonelli
c/o LitVision Press
7711 Greenback Lane #156
Citrus Heights CA 95610


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