KNOTTY, KNOTTY, KNOTTY
(Black Mountain Press, 2014)
In this lingual trifecta of kinetic rhythm, acoustic precision and stylistic singularity, Joshua Kornreich lures us into the tumultuous psyche of a cape-wearing, orally-obsessed philanderer whose mouth and heart ache for meaning in a life marred by both maternal absence and fraternal suicide. With a narrative that bobs and weaves between past and present, vaudeville and violence, triumph and trauma, Kornreich’s unnamed protagonist deploys a darkly comedic arsenal of repeated tropes and turns of phrase to candidly reveal the deluge of idiosyncrasies that have plagued his life, as well as the eccentric characters and everyday objects that have both inhabited and consumed it: namely, an "avant-garde" drum-playing brother; a dysfunctional, ticket-scalping father; a sensual, overbearing nanny; a fatherless, deaf-mute gal pal; a scrambled-up analog cable box; a vibrating "metal comb;" a shadowing dog; an omniscient man in black; and, last but certainly not least, a cunnilingus-crazed missus. The sum of these revelations is a profound portrayal of a man struggling to descramble a scrambled-up universe in which the haves are those with Channel 1 and the have-nots are those without it. With this warped black-and-white view of the world, a world in which patience is a virtue and intimacy a burden, the orally- and aurally-swamped antihero discovers that the only sensible way to go about living is to persevere and make his mark.