jeudi, janvier 10, 2008


This collection of conceptual fictions enacts the misalliances of lovers, coworkers, families, and friends, following out the unlikely conjunctions of postmodern America to their often preposterous ends. At the work's comic center is an invention that transgresses the boundaries of fiction and fraud. Just who is Jirí Cêch? A businessman, vampire, and artist from Czechoslovakia? A website? A hoax? An American con artist whose racism and sexism, although obnoxious, only heighten his allure? Or is he Debra Di Blasi herself? Obsessed with everything as enigmatic as himself, whether platypuses or Emily Dickinson, Jiri seems determined to become an obsession for us as well.

In her third work of fiction, Debra Di Blasi explores the process of writing, not merely as an arrangement of words, but as the creation of pages, of signifying colors and forms in two-dimensional space. The Jirí Chronicles & Other Fictions is writing for the eyes, with illustrations and digital images defining this work as a response to our collective lust for visual information. Di Blasi's ability to generate tension results from her integration of these pictorial codes with exquisitely designed sentences:

The poet bored of living dead, so loving the living dead - Emily with her clever dash of pause and breath, little here-to-there line demarcating the fat-swarming world here she inhabited there on her page in her mind, that line a slit through which she'd slip, like a finger between labia, and all the wetness of creation a swooning banquet of word-interlaced silence.

These mixed-media fictions are as fun as they are intellectually provocative. The Jirí Chronicles & Other Fictions is a masterful work by one of America's creators of a new literary medium.


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