The Hotel of Irrevocable Acts by Carl Watson

Unreality, printed and bound

Unreality, printed and bound

American reality has an oxymoronic, allegorical root that has been incoherently described by Griel Marcus in Invisible Republic, as “The old, weird America.” In his book, Marucs attempts to describe the world of the widely circulated folk song of the murderers “Frankie and Johnny.” It is the America that appears in Flannery O’Connor’s and Russell Edson’s tales. Moby Dick, Marc Chapman, LeadBelly, and The Hotel Of Irrevocable Acts do not make empirical, factual sense. The statement “is it true?” is meaningless in America. These works are concrete manifestations of the American disconnection between empirical reality and what might be described as American reality. The broken connection between observed physical phenomena and its meaning has been a part of the American sensibility since people wandered across the Bering land bridge. Herman Melville, the telephone, radio, and TV are logical outgrowth of this friction, rather than the cause of it. “Why just a few days ago, in the Tribune,” Watson reports in his novel, “two hitchhiking girls murdered an executive who thought he was gonna get some pussy. The girls said they thought they were in a movie – that it wasn’t quite real.” (The full review is The American Book Review.)

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