Category Archives: Recommendation

Zac’s Haunted House by Dennis Cooper

Dennis Cooper is  a novelist and poet and dramatist and critic and editor, who resides outside the mainstream cultural industry.  We apparently went to the same small liberal arts college in Southern California at roughly the same time, though he would have been a couple of years ahead of me. I don’t remember him.

Going through his bibliography just now, I don’t seem to have read him before today, either, though it is a stretch to call what I just did reading.

He calls his new work, Zac’s Haunted House, an html novel. It works like this.

Click on this link. Scroll down. Follow the directions.

I downloaded the html folder, opened the file inside it called index.html with Chrome and I was good to go.

I would imagine if you have fast internet and give each chapter time to buffer, it would work fine online, too.

4-25Zac’s Haunted House is made up entirely of GIF files artfully arranged. If I understand correctly, these were all files found online, then resized and put in order by the author.

As you scroll down the page you will find correspondences and themes, mostly to do with transformations and blood letting, lots of horror/slasher imagery, though there is humor, too. If you take such things to heart you may find it disturbing.

I found it pretty amazing, even if I’m not sure it is anything more really than a fabulous trick. Fabulous tricks, after all, are fabulous.


Recommended: Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

After finishing Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel I read Geoff Dyer’s review in the Sunday Times Book Review of May 18, 2012. Or reread, probably, at least partly. My approach to book reviews is flexible. I read them if I’m interested in the non-fiction subject, even a little.

I read fiction reviews if I like the writer or I like the reviewer, or if the writer or reviewer I don’t know captures me for some reason. References to books and writers I like help. But it is hit or miss.

If I start reading a review, for whatever reason, and think I might read the book, I stop. It isn’t pleasurable to read with a critical voice in your head, no matter whose. Read the book first, read the review later. Same goes for movies.

I’m sure I at least started Dyer’s review of Ben Fountain’s book because I like reading Dyer, and I’m sure I stopped because I thought I would read the book, which I eventually did and have now finished.

All of which is to say that Dyer’s review gets the book, and does it without even mentioning Beyonce’.

What I can tell you is the book is a love story, and like all love stories it’s a wish-fulfillment scenario. The fact that that mostly-dry humping mise en scene intersects with the War in Iraq, Bush 43 giving medals, Fox Television, the Dallas Cowboys, Hillary Swank, Destiny’s Child, a twisted dysfunctional and sweet family, and many vile and some sweet characters, and is written with vivid access to metaphor that captures life in these United States these days, is secondary.

But not unimportant.