- 7,99 €
Reminds Me of My Innocence
Amorous Adventures Among Kissing Cousins
Mark Evans, the handsome and rambunctiously wild younger brother, visits his grizzled story telling older brother James in a nursing home. James recounts from his frayed memory an oddly romantic tale of brother Mark seducing three cousins in a single night. Or did they seduce him? With snippets from beyond innocence, nestled in the cradle of discovery, the family emerges: The sisters are emotionally scarred by a heavy drinking father who is shaken with Parkinson's disease. Compared to the Texan brothers, the New York girls are relatively sophisticated. Their cultures collide head-on. From the opening line: "Sleeping with three sisters, now that's big trouble," (you can hear the drawl) the story traces brotherly and sisterly ties through a lifetime of misadventures. It seems as if, at every new turn in the brothers’ lives, the sisters invade the scene in a complex litany of literary fiction, adventure, mystery, suspense, myth, romance and desire. Story telling James believes he hasn't lost his memory to Alzheimer's -- he's found the language of dementia -- "the language of our future." James explains his perspective as the equivalent of scientists' discovering Black Holes in the universe. The unseen dense matter we all think is way out there beyond our reach actually exists within our minds; it’s where Alzheimer's takes us. He unravels tales from that unfathomed inner brain, spliced together with imagination, chewing gum and bailing wire, in a syncopated rhythm of humorous delight.
As in earlier novels, described by critics as “marvelously extraordinary, eccentric and bizarre,” Peter Kelton’s characters emerge from their innocence in a parade of lust and occasional betrayal, sauntering through and sometimes tripping over basic truths about human nature. As in all his novels the author remains steady in his belief that well-written literary fiction doesn’t have to be high-brow; it has to embrace ideas about destiny in a storyline that holds the readers’ attention. During his classic presentation at the 200th anniversary writers’ conference of North American Review, the nation’s oldest literary magazine, he poked fun at his own novels for their obscurity, implying clarity in the digital age equals salvation. Then he toyed with the digital age itself:
Some nut will find a way to blow up the electric grid. All these electronic gadgets that rely on electricity will go dark. The batteries will run down. We’re talking Cormac McCarthy darkness, black on black. . . except for one distant flicker of light. It’s on a beach probably Australia. Survivors will make their way through the dark and find the light from a single candle. Next to the candle will be a lad with a note book scribbling away with the last pencil on earth. He’s writing about what happened. He hopes someone will read what he writes. That’s what writers do. They hope.
In “Reminds Me of My Innocence,” Kelton’s characters are indeed marvelously extraordinary, eccentric and bizarre. They are just as real as Studs Terkel’s real folks in “The Great War.” Instead of a war to bind them together, they are bound together by innocent lust and folly. After a small standing ovation for his literary presentation, a local reporter in Cedar Falls, Iowa asked Kelton what his “style” was. “Wedged somewhere between the beautiful language of John Hawkes and the dense absurdity of Thomas Pynchon.”
After Lewis H. Lapham, editor of Harper’s, wrote to the author’s agent, “I love the way Kelton writes,” he completed six novels in 50 years.