The official booklikes blog of author Caleb J. Ross.
I read an early version of this collection, What Precision, Such Restraint, a few years ago, during which time I must have been drunk, since though I recall enjoying the collection I don’t remember it being so front-loaded with genius.
I want to focus on the amazing story, “That Lombardi Thing” which encapsulates what I consider to be the absolutely best kind of story: voice-driven, thought-provoking, and never too full of itself. This is why I love José Saramago. This is why I love Brian Evenson (though his characters do tend to be a bit full of themselves, the stories aren’t). This is what I try to write.
“That Lombardi Thing” explores the made-up (I think made-up) concept of Freudhacking, which is the practice of switching a person’s conscious with their subconscious. Thought-provoking: check. The narrator is a one-time practitioner of Freudhacking who wants nothing more than to be left alone, never to practice again. Voice-driven: check. The occasion for the story is that this old man practitioner is approached by a man who wants to know what it’s like to live without language. The old man thinks he’s nuts. Never too full of itself: check.
The author, Phil Jourdan, tries to pawn this collection off as just a literary experiment without any merit beyond its own pages. He even calls the book a bunch of terrible names during a live reading in Boston a few months ago. It’s just proof of his genius that by telling the world of the book’s insufficient origins Phil can then be free to write whatever he wants, and the reader, having been briefed of the rubbish, can’t complain. Well, the reader won’t want to complain, so you failed, Phil.